A statue of Winston Churchill may have to be put in a museum to protect it if demonstrations continue, his granddaughter has said.
Emma Soames told the BBC the war-time prime minister was a “complex man” but he was considered a hero by millions.
She said she was “shocked” to see the monument in London’s Parliament Square boarded up, although she said she understood why this was necessary.
It came after protesters daubed “was a racist” on the statue last weekend.
Ms Soames said it was “extraordinarily sad that my grandfather, who was such a unifying figure in this country, appears to have become a sort of icon through being controversial.”
“We’ve come to this place where history is viewed only entirely through the prism of the present,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Ms Soames acknowledged her grandfather had often held views which “particularly now are regarded as unacceptable but weren’t necessarily then”.
However she added: “He was a powerful, complex man, with infinitely more good than bad in the ledger of his life.”
She said if people were “so infuriated” by seeing the statue it may be “safer” in a museum.
“But I think Parliament Square would be a poorer place without him,” she added.
Churchill’s grandson Sir Nicholas Soames said he was “deeply upset” after the statue was vandalised and then boarded up.