Gallery  May 16, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

Charles III Reveals His First Official Portrait As King

Wikimedia Commons, Diliff.

Photograph of Buckingham Palace from gardens, London, UK, 2014. License

Britain’s Charles III has unveiled his first official portrait since he was crowned king a little over a year ago. The 7’5” by 5’5” piece was painted by London-based artist Jonathan Yeo who had been working on the commission since 2021. 

The portrait, unveiled at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday the 14th, depicts Charles in his Welsh Guards uniform, of which he has been Regimental Colonel since 1975. Surrounded by varying hues of textured red, orange, and dark brown, Charles' relaxed countenance has been paired with a monarch butterfly seemingly landing on his shoulder.

In a statement released by the royal family, Yao is quoted, "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 continues, “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. I'm unimaginably grateful for the opportunity to capture such an extraordinary and unique person, especially at the historic moment of becoming king."

Yeo’s contemporary portraiture gained international recognition when he was in his early 20s. Since his rise to prominence, he has painted the likes of Dennis Hopper, Charles’ father Prince Philip, Queen Camilla, David Attenborough, Idris Elba, and activist Malala Yousafzai. 

Charles' portrait was revealed a few weeks after he announced his return to public duties in lieu of his cancer diagnosis. This came as a relief to many over the status of the king’s health. Yeo’s portrait of Charles III will be on view from May 16th to June 16th at the Philip Mould Gallery in London. From there, the painting will be transferred to Drapers Hall.

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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