King Charles’ First Official Portrait Is Unveiled: It’s Eight Feet Tall, Features A Sword, A Butterfly And A Lot Of Red

Official portraits of royalty or politicians are often very staid and forgettable. That is not the case with King Charles’ first official portrait.

Painted by celebrated artist Jonathan Yeo, the eight-plus-foot-tall work is certainly striking. It features a fine characterization of the king’s face looking benignly down at the viewer. His visage is set off by a sea of red behind him which blends with his uniform, reportedly that of the Welsh Guards, a division of the British Army in which Charles is regimental colonel.

More from Deadline

Yeo has painted luminaries such as Charles’ wife, Queen Camilla, British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, Dennis Hopper, Nicole Kidman, Sir David Attenborough, Jamie Oliver and Rupert Murdoch.

He also made a portrait of the king’s father, Prince Philip. “He was a bit of a caged tiger,” Yeo told the New York Times. “I can’t imagine he was easy as a father, but he was entertaining as a subject.”

The new painting reportedly met with the approval from the queen, who said to Yeo, “Yes, you’ve got him,” according to the BBC.

The king’s first reaction was more nuanced. He got an early look at the work in a “half-done state,” said Yeo. “He was initially mildly surprised by the strong color but otherwise he seemed to be smiling approvingly.”

Earlier this month, the Times predicted the royal commission “will likely reconfirm Mr. Yeo’s status as the go-to portraitist of his generation for Britain’s great and good, as well as for actors, writers, businesspeople and celebrities from around the world.”

As for the butterfly, Yeo explains, “In history of art, the butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis and rebirth.” That’s appropriate for a portrait of a recently-ascended monarch. It also signifies a King who has championed environmental causes.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.