A new portrait of Prince Charles to mark his 70th birthday was unveiled during a special celebration for the centenary of Australia House in London this week. The portrait was completed by highly-acclaimed Australian artist Ralph Heimans and commissioned by Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt
In the striking image, the Prince of Wales wears a grey suit and holds a wooden cane as he stands in the atmospheric surroundings of the tapestry room at Dumfries House in Scotland. Heimans drew inspiration for the portrait from the heir to the throne’s writings, and his legendary commitment to environmental protection and sustainability, architectural preservation and the “notions of harmony between the natural world and the built environment.”
Of the chosen setting for the painting, Mr Heimans said: “Dumfries House in many ways appeared to be the ideal setting to express these ideas, not only in being an example of an architectural heritage site that the Prince undertook to restore but also in the way that it engages the local community and functions to put many of the Prince’s charitable causes into practice.”
Mr Heimans is a portrait artist favoured by both the English and Danish royal families and has previously completed solo portraits of Her Majesty The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his Australian-born wife, Crown Princess Mary.
Prince Charles, joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, was on hand for the portrait’s first public viewing and also unveiled a symbolic stone engraving which mirrors the foundation stone of Australia House laid by His Majesty King George V in 1913. The King returned to officially open Australia House when construction was complete in 1918.
Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom George Brandis QC said: “Australia House has a special place in the hearts of generations of Australians who have lived and worked in London for the past century.”