A HISTORIC reunion took place in Petersfield on Monday when a King reclaimed his equine throne in the heart of the town.
Dozens of people gathered around The Square to watch the repaired body of William III get re-acquainted with his noble steed.
Hampshire County Council asked Rupert Harris Conservation to give “King Billy” some much-needed R&R – repairs and restoration – early this summer as his right arm needed re-attaching and his ankle was cracked.
The council-funded repair work went smoothly with lifting experts from MTech skilfully manoeuvring the statue back into place around 2pm.
“The repair work went okay but some of the previous repairs gave us a bit of a headache,” said Jackie Rumsey.
“There was some car body filler and wood screws inside, so some of the previous work was a bit crude.”
Finishing work should be finished by today with the specialist restorers concluding that the statue is structurally sound. A puddle which has been inside the horse’s belly for decades still remains, however, along with metal engravings from the 19th and 20th centuries.
There was also a last-minute bid by David Jeffery to place a time capsule inside the statue before its recoupling.
The July 20 Post article about King Billy’s removal was sealed in a waterproof pouch recommended by Ben from Mountain Warehouse for future generations to discover.
Attention now turns to tomorrow’s “official reopening” at 5.30pm and how to prevent William from incurring further injuries.
His 2021 arm injury was blamed on hi-jinx behaviour – although there have been rumours it was down to some over-enthusiastic cleaning – with the mayor keen on surrounding railings to prevent similar incidents.
Rob Humby, Hampshire County Council leader, said he was delighted the statue’s restoration has been successful.