King Charles’s modern, pink portrait by artist Jonathan Yeo unveiled at Buckingham Palace

King Charles’s modern, pink portrait by artist Jonathan Yeo unveiled at Buckingham Palace
  • PublishedMay 15, 2024

It’s a good thing the monarch liked it.

“If this was seen as treasonous, I could literally pay for it with my head, which would be an appropriate way for a portrait painter to die — to have their head removed,” quipped artist Jonathan Yeo at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

King Charles III has unveiled the first portrait of him since his coronation just over 12 months ago.

Yeo’s painting — a towering 2.8 metres high by 2.2m wide — shows the royal in his Welsh Guards military uniform, and leaning on a sword.

Shades of pink dominate the artwork, in a departure from traditional royal portraits.

Yeo’s modern twist was not a total surprise to King Charles, who did view the painting before it was finished.

The artist said the monarch was “surprised” but “smiling approvingly”.

“My aim was also to make reference to the traditions of royal portraiture but in a way that reflects a 21st century monarchy and, above all else, to communicate the subject’s deep humanity,” Yeo said.

The painting was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate the then-Prince of Wales’s 50 years as a member of the charitable organisation, The Drapers’ Company, in 2022, the palace said.

The painting will be hung at London’s Drapers’ Hall.

A butterfly, which the artist said was to symbolise “metamorphosis and rebirth” floats near the king’s shoulder in the painting.

“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 king sat four times for the portrait, for about an hour on each occasion.

He was made a Regiment Colonel of the Welsh Guards in 1975.

Yeo said the monarch was “impressively still” and had “a great sense of humour” while sitting for Yeo, which last took place in November 2023.

In February, Buckingham Palace revealed King Charles had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer.

He did not undertake any public-facing duties for 12 weeks, but doctors cleared him to resume them late last month.

Few details have been made public of the king’s condition, although at an engagement at a military museum in Hampshire on Monday, he did tell British veteran Aaron Mapplebeck — a cancer survivor — he had lost his sense of taste during treatment.

Yeo has previously painted other members of the royal family, including Queen Camilla in 2014 and the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 2008.

Two men wearing suits looking down and laughing with a big red painting behind them
Charles meets with artist Jonathan Britain Royals King Portrait
King Charles pulling a black sheet off a big frame with others standing around
A big painting frame in the middle of a big palace room



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *