First official portrait of King Charles unveiled

It took four years to make the striking first official portrait of King Charles III, ITV News Presenter Julie Etchingham reports

A new portrait of King Charles has been unveiled at Buckingham Palace.

It is the first official portrait of Charles since his coronation on May 6 last year.

"It is remarkable actually how it has turned out," Charles commented after the portrait was unveiled.

The painting is by artist Jonathan Yeo, who was commissioned to create the piece in 2020 to celebrate the then Prince of Wales' 50 years as a member of The Drapers' Company in 2022.

The artwork was originally commissioned in 2020. Credit: ITV News

The company was founded more than 600 years ago as a group of woollen cloth traders but has since evolved into a grant-giving body.

Charles is shown in the portrait to be wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was made regimental colonel in 1975.

Mr Yeo had a total of four sittings with the monarch between June 2021 and November 2023 in order to complete the painting, and in between sessions worked from drawings and photos he had taken of the King.

The artist said it had been a "privilege and pleasure" to be commissioned to do the painting.

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"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," Mr Yeo said in a statement.

"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."

Mr Yeo is known for his "distinctive" style, according to his website.

"He employs a range of media and techniques to create a diverse body of work that expands the traditional parameters of portraiture," Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in 2016.

The canvas size - approximately 8.5 by 6.5ft framed - was designed to fit within the architecture of Drapers' Hall and the context of the paintings it will eventually hang alongside.

Other people painted by Jonathan Yeo include actors Nicole Kidman and Idris Elba, artist Damien Hearst and former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron.

He has also painted the late Prince Philip and Queen Camilla.

In 2018 Yeo was named artist of the year by GQ Magazine and he is currently artist Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery.

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