A bronze Ronald Reagan statue will be unveiled in Grosvenor Square later this morning. The 10 foot Republican stands in the shadow of the US Embassy, and marks the centenary of the late President's birth (as well as coinciding with Independence Day). It is one of several Reagan memorials installed around Europe this week.
The ceremony will be attended by William Hague, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and 2,000 other Reagan admirers. Margaret Thatcher, one of the 40th President's closest allies during the Cold War, had hoped to join the party but is said to be unwell.
Westminster Council waived its rules about waiting 10 years after the death of a subject before allowing commemoration (hope for the Brian Haw campaign?). A small piece of the Berlin Wall will be installed at Reagan's feet, symbolising the part the President played in ending the Cold War.
Reagan is by no means the first US leader to be commemorated in London. He'll share Grosvenor Square with FDR and Eisenhower, George Washington inhabits the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square, JFK gazes out on Marylebone Road, Abe Lincoln reclines in Parliament Square (and the Royal Exchange), while FDR pops up again on Bond Street, sharing a bench with Churchill.
Reagan's likeness will stay put when the US embassy moves to Battersea in 2017, raising the question of which former President will be commemorated outside the new facility.