King Charles III's First Official Portrait Since His Coronation Slammed as 'Disturbing'

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May 14 2024, Updated 6:32 p.m. ET

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King Charles III's first official portrait since his coronation was revealed at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, May 14 — but not everyone who saw it was impressed.

The painting by artist Jonathan Yeo is shaded in vivid reds that match the monarch's uniform, nearly blending him in the background of the sea of color that many Reddit users compared to blood.

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king charles offputting portrait mocked blood villains
Source: @theroyalfamily/instagram

King Charles III's new portrait was unveiled on May 14.

"Today The King unveiled the portrait at Buckingham Palace," The Royal Family Instagram account captioned the photo. "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."

One Redditor shared the picture alongside the caption: "Anybody else find the new portrait of King Charles III incredibly disturbing and off-putting?"

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Some called the portrait 'disturbing' and compared the colors to 'blood.'

"The face is really detailed though, the artist isn't bad. The haze of blood is just.... a choice," one person pointed out, and a second agreed, "I see a lot of blood."

Several others posted gifs and images of Dracula and other television and movie figures, including villains from Dune, Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones and Star Wars.

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king charles offputting portrait mocked blood villains
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King Charles III was also compared to movie villains from 'Dune' and 'Star Wars'.

"I had to look at it twice, I though it was a pretty cool painting of Chancellor Palpatine before I read the caption," one person quipped, and another joked, "This looks like one of those paintings you'd see hanging on the walls of an abandoned building in a horror game."

A third user compared it to a "death metal album cover" depicting a "priest from hell."

A small monarch butterfly was also painted just above Charles' right shoulder in the controversial portrait. Yeo explained, "In history of art, the butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis and rebirth," noting that the symbol makes sense for a man who recently ascended to the throne.

That, too, was mocked by social media users, who claimed it was only there so the image wouldn't be outright terrifying.

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king charles offputting portrait mocked blood villains
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King Charles III could make Zara Tindall a princess.

"That butterfly is doing a lot of tonal heavy lifting. 'Is this painting supposed to make me feel afraid? No, there's a cute little butterfly on his shoulder,'" a Redditor teased.

Yeo noted the inclusion of the insect was actually the king's idea himself.

"I said, when schoolchildren 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?" he recalled asking King Charles. "He said 'what about a butterfly landing on my shoulder?'"



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