King Charles' Dramatic New Portrait Vandalized by Animal Rights Protestors

King Charles' first completed official portrait since his coronation in May 2023 has been defaced by animal rights activists in London

Published Time: 11.06.2024 - 20:31:13 Modified Time: 11.06.2024 - 20:31:13

King Charles' first completed official portrait since his coronation in May 2023 has been defaced by animal rights activists in London.

On June 11, two supporters from the group Animal Rising approached the King's dramatic portrait by Jonathan Yeo at the Philip Mould Gallery and affixed posters inspired by Wallace and Gromit to the image. The protestors overlaid the King's face with the character of Wallace, adding a speech bubble reading, "No Cheese Gromit. Look At All This Cruelty On RSPCA Farms!"

The stunt was meant to draw attention to the findings of a new report by Animal Rising, which describes itself as a nonviolent organization working towards a more sustainable future "where humanity shares a positive relationship with animals and nature." The report, published on June 9, claimed that "cruelty and suffering" were found across 45 randomly sampled farms affiliated with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' (RSPCA) Assured program, a statement said.

The RSPCA Assured is the organization's non-profit farm animal welfare assurance initiative, upholding higher farm animal welfare standards from birth to slaughter. King Charles, 75, is the royal patron of the RSPCA, following in the footsteps of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

"The lighthearted action played on the King’s love of Wallace and Gromit and his status as Royal Patron of the RSPCA," Animal Rising said in the statement. "Animal Risi -

ng has called on the King to suspend his support for the charity until they drop the Assured Scheme."

The activists defaced an image significant as the King's first portrait since his ceremonial crowning last spring. The fiery red portrait by Yeo was revealed at Buckingham Palace on May 14, unveiling a commission in the works for four years. The artwork was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate Charles marking 50 years as a member of The Draper's Company in 2022.

Yeo is considered to be one of the world's leading portrait artists and joked on social media that the image "sparked a million memes" after it was unveiled.

Queen Camilla reportedly had a thoughtful reaction when she saw it for the first time, telling Yeo, "Yes, you've got him," according to the BBC.

The piece measures about 8 ½ by 6 ½ feet, framed to fit in with the architecture of Drapers' Hall, the hub of the historic guild. It has been displayed to the public for free at the Philip Mould Gallery in London since May 16 and was scheduled to be on view until June 21. 

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The palace previously said that the art was expected to move to Drapers’ Hall for display at the end of August, though it remains unclear how the vandalism will be remedied. 

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