King Charles III's first official portrait since his coronation, unveiled on Tuesday, has generated a mixed response from the public and art experts alike. The striking painting by British artist Jonathan Yeo depicts the monarch bathed in shades of crimson, with a single monarch butterfly perched on his shoulder. While the portrait has been praised for its dynamic and contemporary feel, some social media users have likened it to the "archdemon of hell" and expressed their disappointment with the artwork.

The portrait, which stands over 6 feet tall and was painted over the course of three years, shows King Charles wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, a regimental role he assumed in 1975. The painting was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate the then Prince of Wales's 50 years as a member of The Drapers' Company, with the King sitting for the painter four times, each session lasting around an hour.


During the unveiling ceremony at Buckingham Palace, King Charles joked about the painting's frame, saying, "Christ! I wondered what the frame was going to be like. It is remarkable, actually, how it has turned out." The monarch was unexpectedly joined by the Queen, her daughter Laura Lopes, and her husband Harry, both of whom work in art.

While the portrait has been praised for its unique and contemporary style, some social media users have expressed their disappointment with the artwork. One user on X, formerly Twitter, wrote, "I unironically love the new King Charles portrait because of how evil it looks. Archdemon of hell a*s portrait." Another user called it "the ugliest thing I have ever seen," while someone else questioned, "Anybody else find the new portrait of King Charles III incredibly disturbing and off-putting?"

The reactions on social media have been varied, with some users comparing the portrait to a "truly nightmarish horror movie" and others suggesting that it looks like the King is "burning in hell." The dramatic shades of red and the monarch butterfly on the King's shoulder have also been a topic of discussion among art experts and the public alike.

Professor Geraldine Johnson, Head of the History of Art Department at Oxford University, spoke to MailOnline about the significance of the monarch butterfly in the portrait. "It [the butterfly] undoubtedly reflects his lifelong passion for the natural world. One does wonder, however, whether it was the King or Yeo who made the decision to depict a Monarch Butterfly in particular," she said. "While its name suggests royalty, its endangered status may unintentionally say as much about the King's concerns about the future of the monarchy as about the natural world."

The portrait's unveiling comes at a time when the royal family has been in the spotlight, with King Charles' recent cancer diagnosis and treatment making headlines. During a visit to the Army Flying Museum in Hampshire on Monday, the monarch mentioned experiencing a "loss of taste" as a side effect of his treatment, sparking concerns about his health.

Despite the mixed reactions to the portrait, it remains a significant milestone in King Charles' reign, marking his first official portrait since his coronation in May 2023. The painting will be on public display for a month at the Philip Mould Gallery in London, from May 16 until June 14, with free entry for visitors. It is expected to be permanently displayed at Drapers' Hall from the end of August.