Activists slammed after vandalising first official portrait of King Charles

Jun 12, 2024
While Buckingham Palace chose not to address the matter and remained silent, the public was quick to condemn the protesters' "disgusting" actions. Source: AP PHOTO.

Animal rights activists have faced backlash from a frustrated public after they vandalised the first official portrait of King Charles since his ascension to the throne.

Footage of the incident, released by Animal Rising, shows two of the group’s supporters entering London’s Philip Mould gallery where they overlaid King Charles’s portrait with a cartoon image of Wallace from the Wallace and Gromit series and added a speech bubble saying, “No cheese, Gromit. Look at all this cruelty on RSPCA farms!”

Animal Rising said the goal was to shed light on the alleged mistreatment on farms certified as “Assured” by the RSPCA, where Charles serves as patron, ensuring higher welfare standards.

The RSPCA were quick to condemn the actions of the activists, making it clear they were not impressed by their behaviour.

“We are shocked by this vandalism of His Majesty King, our Patron’s, portrait,” an RSPCA spokesperson said

“We welcome scrutiny of our work, but we cannot condone illegal activity of any kind.”

Buckingham Palace said it had no comment on the incident.

While The Palace chose not to address the matter and remained silent, the public was quick to condemn the protesters’ “disgusting” actions.

The portrait initially received a mixed reaction from the public following its unveiling earlier this year.

The painting completed by artist Jonathan Yeo portrays the 75 year old with his hands clasped together and a butterfly above his right shoulder.

The King is wearing bright red uniform of the Welsh Guards, in the depiction, set against an equally bright red background.

The painting was specially commissioned to honour Charles’ five decades of membership in the Drapers’ Company, an institution established over six centuries ago to serve as a trade association for wool traders.

The unveiling of the painting on Tuesday, May 14 at Buckingham Palace was captured in a video shared to the Royal Family’s social media pages.

Yeo spoke of the “privilege and pleasure” at being given the opportunity to paint the King’s portrait.

“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,” Yeo said at the time.

“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.”

While Yeo enjoyed the process of capturing the King on canvas and the Monarch himself seemed to be pleased with the final result, the reaction online was not as positive with members of the public taken aback by the painting.

-with Reuters.

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