King Charles III Unveils First Official Portrait Since Coronation, Receives Mixed Response

King Charles III Unveils First Official Portrait Since Coronation, Receives Mixed Response

LONDON — King Charles III has unveiled the first portrait of the monarch completed since he assumed the throne, a vivid image that depicts him in the bright red uniform of the Welsh Guards against a background of similar hues.

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The larger-than-life painting by artist Jonathan Yeo captures the king with his hands clasped atop the hilt of his sword and a butterfly flitting above his right shoulder. Charles got his first look at the canvas Tuesday at Buckingham Palace.

Yeo began the portrait more than a year before Charles became king, with a sitting at the then-Prince of Wales’ Highgrove estate in June 2021. The last sitting took place in November 2023 at Clarence House, one of the king’s residences in London.

“When I started this project, His Majesty The King was still His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and 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.

The portrait, which is approximately 8 1/2 by 6 1/2 feet, will be on display at the Philip Mould Gallery in London from May 16 to June 14. From the end of August, it will be displayed at Drapers’ Hall across town.

The portrait was commissioned to celebrate Charles’ 50 years as a member of the Drapers’ Company, which was set up more than 600 years ago as a trade association for wool merchants.

Philanthropy came to be part of their mission and the company is now a grant-giving body.

How has the public reacted to King Charles III’s new official portrait?

King Charles’ new portrait has proven to be controversial in that it has received mixed reactions from the public. Some have commended artist Yeo for breaking with tradition and being “evocative,” and others have labelled the dominant red hue painting as “nightmarish.”

Read some of the reactions to King Charles’ portrait, here:

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