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King Charles III sees red in new portrait

By Agence France-Presse Published May 15, 2024 7:24 pm

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. 

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. (AFP)