King Charles’s first portrait released and it features subtle nod to his climate activism


King Charles’s portrait has been painted by artist Alastair Barford.

King Charles first portrait

King Charles’s first portrait since becoming monarch (Image: by Alastair Barford/ Illustrated London News.)

King Charles’s first portrait since he acceded the throne last September has been released. The oil painting, by artist Alistair Barford, was created in just two weeks and the artist completed it without the monarch formally sitting for the portrait. Instead, the artist studied the King while he was busying himself at a Buckingham Palace reception last month.

Mr Barford attended the reception on February 17, which was held in support of global biodiversity, to observe the King at work.

He then used photographs and sketches from the event to complete his portrait.

“I wished to capture his warmth and sensitivity, the empathy which came across in his interactions with the people he met,” Mr Barford said. “It was important that I captured a sympathetic expression.”

The artist even managed to feature a subtle nod to Charles’ decades of campaigning on climate change and sustainability within the portrait.

king charles portrait

The portrait will feature on the front of the Illustrated Coronation Edition (Image: Alastair Barford/ Illustrated London News.)

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Mr Barford included the bracelet that the King was presented on the night by Amazon indigenous leader, Domingo Peas.

The darkly coloured bracelet with gold thread is seen on his left wrist beneath his watch.

At the reception, Mr Peas had also presented the King with a brightly coloured necklace and small decorated bowl.

The new portrait of the King will feature on the front cover of The Illustrated Coronation Edition, which is out from Thursday March 30.

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Mr Barford said it was a “terrifying honour” to receive the commission of King Charles.

He said: “It’s a great responsibility to create a portrait of someone who means so much to so many people.

“If you are painting someone you know, you bring to the portrait certain preconceptions.

“While I don’t know The King, he has been an enduring presence in all our lives.

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“So reconciling this ‘Idea of The King’ with the reference material I had gathered was a challenge.”

The artist’s portrait of the King wasn’t his first royal commission, as in 2015 he was asked to paint the late Queen’s portrait to mark her becoming the longest-reigning British Monarch.

It was Mr Barford’s first formal commission and he studied The Queen at The Order of Garter Ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The Illustrated Coronation Edition is published by Illustrated London News and is on sale though leading supermarkets and WH Smith from March 30.


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