New portrait of Queen Elizabeth II unveiled

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 2:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 4:23pm

A new official portrait of Britain's Queen, painted by Australian-born artist Ralph Heimans, has been unveiled.

The painting, ‘The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’, is the latest portrait to be commissioned by the Queen and depicts her in the Sacrarium of London's famous abbey.

Queen Elizabeth is pictured wearing a State Dress beneath the crimson velvet Robe of State, which she wore to her Coronation in June 1953, and which she has worn to the State Opening of Parliament each year for the last 60 years. Her diamond necklace and earrings were made for Queen Victoria who wore them for her own coronation. The monarch stands at the centre circle of the Cosmati pavement, on the exact spot where she was crowned.

The Queen sat for the 9ft x 11ft work at Buckingham Palace in March 2012. It was unveiled today by Australian Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia.

“Through the narrative of the portrait I wanted to produce a work of particular significance for the Diamond Jubilee. By representing The Queen as she reflects on this incredible milestone in her life, I wanted to explore the dynamic between Her public role and the personal, emotional dimension,” said London-based Heimans.

While the Queen commissioned this portrait, there have been some over the years that have courted controversy, most notably artist Lucian Freud's 2001 portrait which depicted the Queen looking grumpy.