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King Charles III unveils his first official portrait since his coronation

Jonathan Yeo's oil on canvas portrait of Britain's King Charles III. (Jonathan Yeo 2024 via PA) Jonathan Yeo's oil on canvas portrait of Britain's King Charles III. (Jonathan Yeo 2024 via PA)
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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.

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 artwork depicts the King wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was made Regimental Colonel in 1975. (Jonathan Yeo 2024 via PA)

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. 

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