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King Charles III

A new portrait of The King attracts comment but its part of a royal collection with precedent

A divisive new portrait of King Charles has been unveiled and caused a debate.

The painting of The King has been hailed as a classic royal image by some, with comparisons even made to the famous portrayal of Richard II which has endured more than any of that king’s actions as monarch.

Others have questioned its composition and the dramatic use of red throughout the portrait.

The nearly-three metre tall portrait is from artist Jonathan Yeo, and this is not his first royal portrait. 

The Draper’s Company commissioned Yeo to create the striking red portrait, the first official portrait since the May 2023 coronation. The King is portrayed in the red uniform of the Welsh Guards with a butterfly over his shoulder against a deep red background. 

Yeo created a portrait of the then-Duchess of Cornwall in 2014. The metre by metre portrait features The Queen sitting and holding her glasses in a blue dress against a blue background. 

Even earlier, Yeo created a portrait of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in the mid-2000s. In 2006, Yeo was commissioned to create a portrait to be auctioned off for Muscular Dystrophy UK; The Duke served as its Patron for decades. While working on the portrait, Yeo remarked on how spirited Prince Philip was during the sittings, explaining in Apollo Magazine in 2021

“He really wanted me to spar with him – not the easiest thing to do with the prince consort when you’re trying paint his portrait. For me the whole experience was a juggling act.”

While this new portrait is Yeo’s first portrait of The King, they have connected before. His Majesty commissioned Yeo in 2015 to create a portrait of D-Day veteran Geoffrey Pattinson that is still in the Royal Collection. 

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