The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have unveiled a new portrait of Her Majesty The Queen at a State Reception held in their honour at Government House in Wellington today.
The Duke and Duchess entered the room to rounds of applause and trumpets playing God Save The Queen, which is still the Royal National Anthem in New Zealand. The Duke gave a speech to the reception, in which he said: “New Zealand is very special to me personally”. He went on to comment that the New Zealand people were very affectionate to his grandmother, The Queen.
Prince William started with a few words of traditional Maori. He then apologised to the Governor-General if Prince George had kept him up at night and said: “I swear I heard him doing the Hakka this morning”, which received plenty of laughs from the audience. The Duke went on to talk about his private visits to the Island nation. He also made special note for the people of Christchurch for being so resilient, as many are still recovering from a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that left around 15,00o people hurt and 185 dead in 2011.
The portrait was commissioned for permanent display in the Portrait Gallery of New Zealand for everyone to see. “The New Zealand Portrait Gallery is a national institution so this portrait now belongs to the people of New Zealand. We hope as many people as possible will come to see it”, Keith Ovenden, the gallery’s chairman of trustees, said.
The portrait was painted by Nick Cuthell, a kiwi artist who has been a finalist in the New Zealand biennial Adam Portrait Award before. Nick requested Her Majesty wear a blue dress and her silver New Zealand fern brooch, which the Duchess of Cambridge was seen wearing when she arrived in Wellington. Her Majesty graciously agreed with his request.
Mr Cuthell travelled to London and spent an hour with The Queen, who sat for photographs and his initial sketch in Buckingham Palace’s Yellow Drawing Room. He was quoted saying: “Her majesty is a busy woman, so to get an hour with her was great…it was a dream come true to paint The Queen”.
Photo Credit: Government House, New Zealand