King Charles III unveils the first official painted portrait since his coronation

King Charles III on Tuesday unveiled the first official portrait of himself since his coronation just over a year ago: a striking oil painting in which he stares head-on at a background of dappled shades of red, pink and fuchsia.

The painting, by famed portraitist Jonathan Yeo, was unveiled at Buckingham Palace, the royal family said means of social communication. video it showed the king pulling on a ribbon attached to the fabric covering the impressive work, which, as it fell, seemed to give him a little surprise.

Mr Yeo, who has painted the likes of David Attenborough, Idris Elba and activist Malala Yousafzai, began the portrait in June 2021, when the king was still the Prince of Wales. He depicts him wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was colonel of the regiment, with a butterfly fluttering on his shoulder.

Just like that butterfly, “the king's role in our public life has transformed,” Yeo said in the statement released Tuesday by the royal family. “I do my best to capture the life experiences and humanity etched on each individual subject's face, and I hope that's what I achieved in this portrait,” he said, noting that trying to capture the king was “both an extraordinary professional who challenges, a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed and for which I am immensely grateful.

The 7.5-foot by 5.5-foot portrait was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Drapers, a medieval guild of wool and cloth merchants that is now a philanthropic organization. It will be displayed in Drapers' Hall, the group's baronial quarters in London's financial district, which houses a gallery of monarchs from King George III to Queen Victoria.

The discovery came just weeks after the king announced his return to public duties, nearly three months after revealing he had cancer, bringing tangible relief to a country anxious about another wrenching change to the British monarchy.

Mr Yeo previously told the Times that he did not learn of the king's illness until after he completed the painting, which depicts its subject in bright colors with a contemplative but commanding gaze. Mr Yeo also painted the king's wife, Queen Camilla, and her father, Prince Philip. Other subjects include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, actors Dennis Hopper and Nicole Kidman and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. He said the best portraits capture visual characteristics that remain relevant even as the person ages.

As for the king, Mr Yeo told the Times he had noticed physical changes in their four sessions together, during which the king was going through a metamorphosis in stature.

“Age and experience suited him,” Mr Yeo told the Times. “His behavior definitely changed after he became king.”

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