What Does the Queen Think of Her Bold New Portrait?
The Queen viewed the bold new painting on Friday
Queen Elizabeth has been immortalized on canvas yet again.
The newest portrait of the record-breaking monarch was unveiled Friday morning at Windsor Castle. Painted by Canadian artist Henry Ward, it honors the Queen’s six decades of support for the British Red Cross.
It is the first time the 90-year-old ruler has been depicted as patron of the charity, which aids people in crisis in the U.K. and overseas. She is portrayed wearing her Garter robes, diamond earrings and a bracelet and tiara that belonged to Queen Alexandra. (It’s likely the Kokoshnik tiara.) The bust in the right background is of Henry Dunant, who founded the Red Cross.
During her remarkable 63-year reign, Queen Elizabeth has unveiled some 150 official portraits — including those with her husband Prince Philip, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren (including Prince George and Princess Charlotte), her immediate heirs and her corgis and dorgis.
“As a long-standing supporter of the British Red Cross, it has been an honor to paint the Queen,” says Ward, who originally hails from Essex, England.
“To portray Her Majesty as monarch and as patron of the Red Cross I have included imagery that relates to the history of the relationship. I have also been influenced by previous Royal portraitists such as Anthony van Dyck and Sir Joshua Reynolds.”
The royal family has been closely involved with the Red Cross since it was founded in 1863. Queen Victoria became the first royal patron in 1870 and the Queen – who this week became the world’s longest reigning monarch, following the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol — has nurtured this link throughout her reign by visiting numerous projects and hosting a special Buckingham Palace garden party to celebrate the organization’s 100th birthday.
The portrait pays special tribute to this royal association by including the jewels of Queen Alexandra, who played a crucial role in persuading her husband, King Edward VII, to present the Red Cross with a royal charter.