King Charles III sees red in new portrait

King Charles III sees red in new portrait

/ 07:30 AM May 16, 2024

Britain's King Charles III unveils an official portrait of himself, by the artist Jonathan Yeo

Britain’s King Charles III unveils an official portrait of himself, by the artist Jonathan Yeo, depicting him wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was made Regimental Colonel in 1975, in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in London on May 14, 2024. The official portrait was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate the then Prince of Wales’s 50 years as a member of The Drapers’ Company in 2022. Artist Jonathan Yeo had four sittings with the King Charles III, beginning when he was Prince of Wales in June 2021 at Highgrove, and later at Clarence House. The last sitting took place in November 2023 at Clarence House. Yeo also worked from drawings and photography he took, allowing him to work on the portrait in his London studio between sittings. The canvas size – approximately 8.5 by 6.5 feet when framed – was carefully considered to fit within the architecture of Drapers’ Hall and the context of the paintings it will eventually hang alongside. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / Agence France-Presse )

London, United Kingdom — King Charles III on Tuesday unveiled the first completed official portrait of himself since his coronation — a striking red depiction of the British monarch in uniform.

The 230cm by 165.5cm (7.5 feet by 5.4 feet) oil on canvas was painted by Jonathan Yeo, who has previously depicted Charles’s wife Camilla in 2014, and his father, Prince Philip, in 2008.


It shows the 75-year-old head of state in the ceremonial red uniform of the Welsh Guards against a red background, with a butterfly hovering over his shoulder.


READ: UK’s King Charles III diagnosed with cancer

Yeo, 53, was commissioned for the work in 2020, when Charles was still prince of Wales, to mark his 50 years as a member of The Drapers’ Company.

The portrait will go on public display until next month and eventually hang in Drapers’ Hall, the base of the historic merchants’ guild and philanthropic body in the City of London.

Charles, who became king in September 2022 after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, had four sittings with Yeo from June 2021 to November 2023.

He is currently receiving treatment for cancer and has only recently resumed official public engagements.

“Much like the butterfly I’ve painted hovering over his shoulder, this portrait has evolved as the subject’s role in our public life has transformed,” Yeo said before an unveiling at Buckingham Palace.


“I’m unimaginably grateful for the opportunity to capture such an extraordinary and unique person, especially at the historic moment of becoming king,” he added in a statement.

Yeo’s previous notable subjects include the first painted portrait of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair.

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TAGS: King Charles III, official portrait

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