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What is the (shocking) price tag for King Charles III’s official portrait for UK public buildings?

What is the (shocking) price tag for King Charles III’s official portrait for UK public buildings?
What is the (shocking) price tag for King Charles III’s official portrait for UK public buildings? Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By David Mouriquand
Published on
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The UK Cabinet Office has defended a monarch portrait project which has been labelled "a shameful waste of money" by critics.

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A new official portrait of King Charles III that will hang in public buildings in the UK has been unveiled.

The photograph was taken by society photographer Hugo Burnand in Windsor Castle last year, and shows the king in full military regalia.

Now, public authorities such as local councils, courts, schools and police forces can apply for a free framed portrait until 2 February, with delivery of the 64cm by 51cm portraits expected to take place between February and April.

The Cabinet Office announced last year that it had set aside funds to offer every public body a portrait of King Charles.

“Official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II are currently on display in many public institutions, and the offering of the new official portrait of King Charles III will enable organisations across the UK to carry on that tradition,” the UK Cabinet Office said in a press statement.

The official portrait of King Charles III
The official portrait of King Charles IIIHugo Burnand/Royal Household 2024/Cabinet Office

The cost of having the face of the monarch hanging on the wall as part of this government-funded scheme?

A whopping £8 million (€9.3 million) price tag.

Considering the country is still in the throes of a major economic crisis, the initiative has faced strong criticism, especially from anti-monarchy group Republic, which sees the initiative as antiquated and described it as a “shameful waste of money.”

“At a time when a majority of local councils are raising taxes and cutting public services, when schools and hospitals are struggling, to spend even £1 (€1.17) on this nonsense would be £1 too much,” Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said following the government’s announcement.

Smith also said the government "has lost the plot if they think people want their money spent on pictures of Charles", calling for the scheme to be ditched and the money directed "where it's really needed".

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has said that "displaying this new portrait will serve as a reminder to us all of the example set by our ultimate public servant" and this week, the Cabinet Office said in a press release that the king’s portrait will “reflect the new era in our history.”

Playing it a bit fast and loose with the word “new” there...

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