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Tuesday June 25, 2024

King Charles portrait artist makes shocking confession about 'fiery red' painting and heart attack

Yeo said he was unaware of the King's cancer diagnosis during the final sitting for the painting

By Web Desk
May 20, 2024
He admitted the colour choice on King Charles's painting may have been psychological

Artist for King Charles’ portrait, Jonathan Yeo has made some shocking revelations about the portrait of the monarch.

The unveiling of this painting, the first official portrait of Charles since his coronation, took place at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, May 14.

The King's portrait artist disclosed that he suffered a heart attack before finishing the "fiery red" painting of the monarch. 

Jonathan Yeo, 53, was commissioned in 2020 to create the new portrait to celebrate the then-Prince of Wales's 50 years as a member of The Drapers' Company. The artist conducted four sittings over several years, starting in June 2021 when His Majesty was still the Prince of Wales at Highgrove, and later at Clarence House.

The painting, predominantly red, depicts the King wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, a position he has held since being made Regimental Colonel in 1975. Yeo revealed that he experienced a heart attack in March of last year while he was working on the portrait.

He told The Times his heart stopped one Sunday and that the sensation began with a "weird flushing feeling".

Yeo then felt pain spread to his arms and insisted he did not want to call an ambulance. Then 10 minutes after a paramedic arrived to assist him, he collapsed.

The artist said: "I had this out-of-body experience, where I was being led off and shown another world and you find you're looking down at something chaotic. And it's like: 'Well, do you want to go there or there?'"

Yeo said he felt like he could not die because he still had "stuff to do", adding: "The second you make the decision, you're back in your body with the [paramedic] saying: 'Stay with me'."

He admitted the colour choice on King Charles's painting may have been psychological, due to his medical emergency.

Yeo told the publication: "[The colour] may also have had psychological backing, because I had a heart attack [in March 2023] when I was painting this. But certainly none of that I was conscious of — it was just: I like this colour."

The artist described the King as a "caring, thoughtful person" and said he only spoke to him briefly about his illness.

Yeo said he was unaware of the King's cancer diagnosis during the final sitting for the painting which took place in November 2023 at Clarence House.

He said: "I didn't sense anything wrong in particular. And also I think when you've got cancer...it's often towards the end of the treatment that it takes a more physical toll."