New King Charles portrait draws both praise and pique

The first portrait of King Charles since his coronation, a 2.6-metre-by-two-metre work by British artist Jonathan Yeo, was unveiled this week in London.

Monarch got his first look at the artwork on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace

There's a new portrait of King Charles: What do Londoners think?

5 days ago
Duration 0:50
From 'ghoulish' to 'striking,' people in London offer their opinions of a new portrait of King Charles.

The unveiling of King Charles's first portrait since his coronation is — perhaps predictably — drawing mixed reaction on social media.

The portrait, by British artist Jonathan Yeo, measures about 2.6 metres by two metres and features Charles against a background of red hues, wearing the red uniform of the Welsh Guards military unit. A butterfly is just above his right shoulder.
The artwork had its unveiling on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace, with Charles and Queen Camilla present.

Two men in blue suits stand in front of a red-hued portrait of King Charles III.
King Charles. right, meets with artist Jonathan Yeo next to a portrait of the King, at Buckingham Palace in London, England, on Tuesday. (Aaron Chown/Reuters)

"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," Rebecca English, the royal editor for the Daily Mail in London, said on X.

Others were less charitable in their take on the portrait

"And how much did this rather bizarre portrait of King Charles cost the British taxpayer?" James Melville said on X.

Some people went for more cinematic references in their postings about the painting.

Yeo started the artwork back in June 2021, when Charles was still the Prince of Wales. Charles became King upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, in September 2022. Charles's coronation took place in May 2023.

"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 at Tuesday's unveiling.

The portrait will be on display at London's Philip Mould Gallery from May 16 to June 14. From the end of August, it will be displayed at Drapers' Hall. 

The portrait was commissioned to celebrate Charles's 50 years as a member of the Drapers' Company, which began as a trade group about 600 years ago and is now a grant-giving body.

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With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

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