King Charles: £8 million project to promote monarch slammed as new portrait has been revealed

King Charles III’s official portrait has been unveiled and its cost is raising eyebrows.

King Charles portrait Royal Family
© Samir Hussein / GETTY IMAGES
King Charles portrait Royal Family

The cost of anything royal is always bound to have critics jump. Whether it’s state visits or events, spending millions on one family tends to displease people during a cost of living crisis. But when £8 million are put to use for a portrait… people are more than displeased.

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The portrait showing the King at Windsor has been done by photographer Hugo Burnand who is also behind King Charles and the Queen Consort’s wedding portrait as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton’s.

So why is this portrait causing such noise when the portrait of Queen Elizabeth was everywhere for over 50 years?

An £8 million portrait of King Charles

To answer our previous question, the critics against King Charles’ portrait may have something to do with the fact that today’s British people didn’t have to pay for Queen Elizabeth’s.

The Queen’s portrait was everywhere you looked, almost part of the furniture, and though at first you noticed it, it quickly faded in the background. The Queen was young and the image grained due to it being taken in the 1950s. It felt like something from another time.

But now, with this brand new portrait of King Charles, the fading away in the background cannot happen. Indeed, it definitely cannot take place when it was announced by the Cabinet Office that the portrait would be the result of ‘an £8m government-funded scheme’.

To justify the scheme the Deputy Prime Minister explained:

The accession of his majesty the king marked a new chapter in our national story (...)
Displaying this new portrait will serve as a reminder to us all of the example set by our ultimate public servant and I hope as many eligible organisations as possible will wish to continue this proud British tradition and honour our king’s reign.

The portrait will be sent for free to 'every public body – local councils, courts, schools, police forces, and fire and rescue services.

At the time of the announcement, the initiative was already criticised and now that the portrait is unveiled, that criticism is back as it is the physical reminder that while budgets are being cut everywhere, the government put aside millions of pounds for a portrait.

An ill-received portrait

Without much surprise, the anti-monarchy group Republic vehemently criticised the portrait, calling it a ‘shameful waste of money’. And, unfortunately, they are not the only ones to call out the price.

On X, under the picture of King Charles in full uniform, users are letting their opinion known.

Elderly man in fancy dress shows of his collection of brooches.
I think school/police/fire station budgets have more pressing issues
What a waste of money. This is the 21st Century.

In the comments section of The Telegraph's article, some readers join X users and question the relevance of such an expense in 2023. One writes:

When I went to bed last night it was 2024. Woke up this morning, saw this picture and .... we're back in 1724!

While another adds, commenting on the choice to have the King in uniform:

Do we still issue and use swords in battle these days? A nice suit would be much better, if we really have to do this sort of thing

However, one X user brings out an interesting point. They note that the monarchy is being blamed for something the government chose to do. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that, though the British people may not be all in for such royal details, these do add to the image of the UK which, yearly, attracts millions of tourists.

The monarchy’s power of attraction brings billions every year to the British economy. In 2023, Independent reported that ‘the monarchy’s brand contributes £2.5bn to the British economy’.

What do you think about that portrait and how it was financed?

Read more:

King Charles must say goodbye to his most senior aide due to tradition

King Charles: Royal expert reveals reason why Sarah Ferguson was invited to key Christmas tradition

Will King Charles stop this extreme royal tradition that has a worrying impact on UK's history?


The Telegraph: New portrait of King in naval uniform will hang in schools ‘to strengthen civic pride’

The Guardian: Portrait of King Charles for public buildings unveiled in £8m scheme

Independent: How much money does the royal family bring in tourism?


King Charles facing backlash after report reveals he's renting out Queen's million dollar properties King Charles facing backlash after report reveals he's renting out Queen's million dollar properties