King Charles
Image by MEGA

Royal Fans Mock King Charles III’s ‘Off-Putting’ and ‘Disturbing’ New Portrait

King Charles III’s first official portrait since his coronation has been unveiled at Buckingham Palace, but the striking red painting by artist Jonathan Yeo has drawn mixed reactions and even mockery from internet users.

The portrait, which stands over 6 feet tall and was painted over three years, features the monarch wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards against a vivid red background that many have compared to blood.

The Royal Family Instagram account shared the portrait, stating, “Today, The King unveiled the portrait at Buckingham Palace. The new work depicts His Majesty wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was made Regimental Colonel in 1975. The painting will ultimately hang in Drapers’ Hall in London.”

However, the unexpected and modern style of the painting has led to a range of reactions from social media users.

King Charles III unveils his first official portrait since he took the throne.

The painting by artist Jonathan Yeo features the King wearing the Welsh Guards uniform while covered in red paint.

X users were quick to label the image ‘satanic’ and ‘disturbing.’

One Redditor shared the picture alongside the caption, “Anybody else find the new portrait of King Charles III incredibly disturbing and off-putting?” Many users agreed, with one person pointing out, “The face is really detailed though, the artist isn’t bad. The haze of blood is just…. a choice.” Others compared the painting to villains from various television shows and movies, including Dracula, Dune, Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars.

The portrait also features a small monarch butterfly just above Charles’ right shoulder, which Yeo explained symbolizes metamorphosis and rebirth, noting that the symbol makes sense for a man who recently ascended to the throne. However, some social media users mocked the inclusion of the butterfly, claiming it was only there to prevent the image from being outright terrifying.

Yeo revealed that the butterfly was actually King Charles’ idea, recalling a conversation with the monarch where he asked, “When school children are looking at this in 200 years and they’re looking at the who’s who of the monarchs, what clues can you give them?” To which Charles reportedly responded, “What about a butterfly landing on my shoulder?”, told OK! Magazine.

The portrait was first commissioned in 2020 when Charles was still the Prince of Wales, a title that has since been passed to his eldest son Prince William following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. Yeo painted the portrait in his London studio during four sittings with Charles from 2021 to 2023.

While some commenters on the palace’s Instagram post appreciated the break from traditional portraits, others criticized the harshness of the red background and its mismatch with the softness of Charles’ expression. Some also expressed surprise at the lack of a nature-based portrait, given the king’s well-known love for the environment and preservation.

The painting will be on display for one month beginning May 16 at the Philip Mould Gallery in London before ultimately hanging in Draper’s Hall, a historic building originally owned by King Henry VIII.

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