King Charles III's blood-red portrait royally backfires: "Looks like he's in hell"

London, UK - A new portrait of King Charles III has been met with divided opinion, as the attempt to present the monarchy in a more modern light appears to have backfired badly.

King Charles III's (r.) first official portrait since his coronation hasn't gone over well with the public.
King Charles III's (r.) first official portrait since his coronation hasn't gone over well with the public.  © IMAGO / i Images

To celebrate his first full year on the throne, on Tuesday, Charles unveiled his first official portrait since his coronation.

The painting was created by renowned artist Jonathan Yeo. Commissioned back in 2020, the portrait was originally intended to mark the 50th anniversary of Charles' membership of the Draper's Company, a centuries-old association of merchants to which the 75-year-old has dedicated himself.

Charles can be seen in the uniform of the Welsh Guards, adorned with medals, his hands resting on a sword, but what has made viewers a bit uneasy is the red veil that covers almost the entire picture.

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Only the king's head and hands are free from the coloring, and a monarch butterfly hovers over his right shoulder, which was added at Charles' request.

According to a report by the British news agency PA, Charles wanted to draw attention to his commitment to environmental protection.

Reactions to the eye-catching painting have been mixed, ranging from confusion to horror.

King Charles III portrait garners wild reactions on social media

King Charles III's latest portrait has drawn some dramatic reactions online.
King Charles III's latest portrait has drawn some dramatic reactions online.  © IMAGO / Spotlight Royal

Social media users weren't shy about sharing their reactions to the painting.

"He looks like he's in hell," one wrote.

Other users went a step further, drawing connections to British history.

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"It's a little on the nose to paint your portrait with the blood of all those you colonized," one X user said.

Some even draw comparisons to "tampon-gate" in 1989, when an amateur radio operator overheard a conversation between Charles and Queen Camilla in which the then-Prince wished he was Camilla's tampon.

At the time, the son of Queen Elizabeth II was still married to Princess Diana.

"He wished to be a tampon. Our man became a maxi-pad. Dream big!" another user quipped.

However, many, including fans of the monarchy, wondered how royal advisors approved the portrait in the first place.

But alongside all the criticism, there were also people who defended the modern painting.

"I'm actually going to take the exact opposite position as some of you and say that Charles does not deserve a portrait as cool as this," one joked.

The portrait will now be exhibited at the Philip Mould Gallery in London from May 16 to June 14 before finding a permanent home at Draper's Hall in August.

Cover photo: IMAGO / i Images

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