Last Tuesday, May 14, King Charles III unveiled his first official portrait since assuming the throne. An enormous pictorial work, the work of the artist Jonathan Yeo, which did not leave indifferent either the monarch or any of those present at the time of revealing the painting.

A portrait showing the monarch in a vivid image, dressed in the bright red uniform of the Welsh Guards against a background of similar red tones. The sovereign appears with his hands clasped on the hilt of his sword, and a butterfly fluttering over his right shoulder. It is the largest painting that the artist has made to date.

That small butterfly has been precisely one of the elements that has attracted the most attention of the entire pictorial group. Yeo himself wanted to explain why he had added the insect in the work, which seems casual, but is full of meaning.

“When I started this project, His Majesty the King was still His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and, like the butterfly I painted floating over his shoulder, this portrait has evolved as the role of the subject in our lives has transformed. public”.

With this element, the artist highlights the evolution and transformation of the king and his role within the royal family. “In the history of art, the butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis and rebirth,” Yeo explained in statements to the BBC.

The inclusion of this insect was not just the artist’s idea, since the monarch participated very actively in the project. As a loyal defender of the environment, Yeo reveals that the British sovereign was determined that a story be told through this portrait. When the artist asked him what clues he wanted to transmit to future generations who contemplate the work, Charles III came up with an idea: ‘What if a butterfly lands on my shoulder?’”

King Charles III saw the completed portrait for the first time on Tuesday, at its unveiling at Buckingham Palace. A portrait that began in June 2021 in Highgrove, where the then crown prince resided with his wife, Camilla. The last session took place at Clarence House, already as king, in November 2023.

The portrait, which measures approximately eight feet long by two feet wide, will be on display at the Philip Mold Gallery in London from May 16 to June 14.

“My goal was also to reference the traditions of royal portraiture, but in a way that reflects a 21st century monarchy and, above all, communicate the deep humanity of the subject,” Yeo concluded. A painting that excited Queen Camilla, which according to her husband revealed her portrait, she could not contain herself and she told the artist: “You nailed it!”

From the end of August, it will be on display at Drapers’ Hall, one of London’s most iconic historic buildings and the setting for weddings, banquets, private dinners, cocktail parties and corporate events of the highest caliber.

The portrait was commissioned to celebrate Charles’ 50 years as a member of the Drapers’ Company, which was established more than 600 years ago as a trade association of wool merchants. Today, philanthropy has become part of its mission and the company is now a grant-making body dedicated to promoting the arts.