King Charles: First official portrait since coronation is unveiled, painted by Jonathan Yeo


But Yeo says our relationship with royalty has shifted since those days.

“On the one hand, we know they’re real people with quirks and personality traits. We’ve seen that much more of them. On the other hand, we still want to buy into the mysticism and the fairy tale that they’re different from us, that there’s a bit of magic there.”

In his portrait, he was “trying to figure out how to do both at once”.

Painting a portrait of this size was “quite an operation”, says Yeo. Having used his first sittings with the king for photographs and sketches, he did most of the painting between the third and fourth sittings.

He then had to hire a truck to transport the canvas and his equipment to Clarence House for the last time he saw the King.

As well as easel, painting tables and lighting, they had to “cover all the carpets in sheets so we didn’t damage these priceless carpets”.

Yeo also brought “a dias, a sort of platform, for me to stand on so I was up high enough to paint his face and one for him to stand on so that he’s on a level as well”.

The artist claims not to have been interested in getting involved in the “rigid formality” of royal portraiture previously. But as he turned 50, he began to think about how “you have to see how you measure up against the works of the past”.

The portrait was commissioned by the Drapers’ Company, the City of London livery company which has been collecting royal portraits for centuries.

His painting will go up in Drapers’ Hall in London surrounded by “a dozen other fabulous, similarly huge portraits of Queen Victoria and various other kings and queens”.

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