King Charles III Unveils First Official Portrait Since Taking the Throne, Elicits Mixed Views

LONDON — King Charles III unveiled the first portrait of himself as monarch, completed since his coronation. The vivid painting by artist Jonathan Yeo depicts the king in the bright red uniform of the Welsh Guards against a similarly hued background.

The larger-than-life portrait captures the king with his hands clasped atop the hilt of his sword and a butterfly hovering 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, sitting for it 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 first official painted portrait of King Charles III since his coronation has been unveiled at Buckingham Palace. — Historic Vids (@historyinmemes)

The portrait, 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 “.”

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

I know I am in the minority but I really like the first official portrait of King Charles. It is edgy, modern, dramatic and evocative. — Cracked_Canoe (@Cracked_Canoe)

I appreciate the attempt at something unconventional, but this new King Charles portrait looks like the poster for a truly nightmarish horror movie. — Kristen Meinzer (@kristenmeinzer)

I really like the portrait of King Charles by Jonathan Yeo – the go-to artist for slightly edgy but convincingly recognisable contemporary portraits; before photography, to have a great painter capture your real appearance you accepted the revelation of your flaws and your… — Richard Morris (@ahistoryinart)

Cards on the table, I know very little about art. But having seen this new Jonathan Yeo portrait of King Charles in the flesh – and there is so much more depth and complexity to it in person – I like it. I wonder what King George V and Queen Mary would have made of it though? — Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail)

King Charles new portrait rings a bell… — Lucie Fur (@Lucie_Fur99)

i think what makes the King Charles portrait so excellent is that it is a) an objectively good piece of art and b) simultaneously extremely memeable— madeline odent (@oldenoughtosay)