The Unveiling of The King’s Official Portrait

The Unveiling of The King’s Official Portrait

The first official painted portrait of the King since the coronation was unveiled at Buckingham Palace. Renowned portrait artist Jonathan Yeo was the mastermind behind this masterpiece. Yeo is no stranger to capturing the essence of his subjects, as his past work includes portraits of notable figures such as Idris Elba, Cara Delevingne, Sir David Attenborough, Nicole Kidman, Malala Yousafzai, as well as former prime ministers Sirs David Cameron and Tony Blair. The King sat for Yeo on four occasions between June 2021 and November 2023, allowing the artist to truly capture the monarch’s essence.

Yeo shared that when he started this project, the King was still the Prince of Wales, highlighting the transformation that took place during the painting process. The portrait aims to reference the traditions of Royal portraiture while also reflecting a 21st-century monarchy. Yeo’s goal was not only to capture the external features of the King but also to convey his deep humanity. The unveiling of this portrait marks a historic moment of the King’s ascension to the throne, a moment that Yeo was honored to capture on canvas.

First Investiture and Return to Public Duties

In addition to attending the unveiling ceremony, the King carried out his first investiture in five months at Windsor Castle. This investiture was especially significant as it was the King’s first public duty since his cancer diagnosis. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was among the 52 recipients of an investiture, receiving the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. The King’s doctors granted him permission to return to public duties, signaling a positive step in his recovery journey.

The portrait was originally commissioned in 2020 to mark the King’s 50 years as a member of The Draper’s Company. The painting showcases the King in the uniform of the Welsh Guards, a position he has held as regimental colonel since 1975. The dimensions of the painting were specifically chosen to fit the architecture of the Drapers Hall where it will eventually hang. The portrait will first be displayed at the Philip Mould Gallery in London before finding its permanent home at Drapers’ Hall at the end of August. The Drapers’ Company, with its charitable trusts aimed at helping disadvantaged individuals, has a long-standing history of connections to the Royal Family dating back to 1364.

The unveiling of the King’s official portrait represents more than just a painting – it symbolizes a moment in history captured on canvas. As the King’s reign continues to unfold, this portrait will serve as a reminder of his journey to the throne. Through the skilled hands of Jonathan Yeo, the King’s essence and legacy have been immortalized in a work of art that will stand the test of time.


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