Kent alumnus unveils first official portrait of King Charles III

Renowned portraiture artist, and Kent alumnus, Jonathan Yeo (English and Film Studies, 1993) has painted the first official portrait of King Charles III since his Coronation in 2023.

The vivid red work was unveiled by The King, alongside Jonathan, at Buckingham Palace and 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.

On the unveiling, Jonathan said: “It was a privilege and pleasure to have been commissioned by The Drapers’ Company to paint this portrait of His Majesty The King, the first to be unveiled since his Coronation.

“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.

“I do my best to capture the life experiences and humanity etched into any individual sitter’s face, and I hope that is what I have achieved in this portrait. To try and capture that for His Majesty The King, who occupies such a unique role, was both a tremendous professional challenge, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed and am immensely grateful for.”

Jonathan Yeo is one of the world’s leading figurative artists and has previously produced official commissions of Prince Philip and The Queen. He has also painted and worked with iconic and celebrated figures including Sir David Attenborough, peace activist Malala Yousafzai, actors Dennis Hopper, Nicole Kidman and Idris Elba, artists Damien Hirst and Grayson Perry, supermodel and actor Cara Delevingne, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

His work has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries around the world and has been the subject of several major mid-career retrospectives in the UK and internationally. In 2017 he received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Kent in recognition of his career as an artist and portrait painter.