/ The Coronation of The King and The Queen Consort 6th May 2023
The Coronation of The King and The Queen Consort 6th May 2023
Celebrating King Charles III’s Coronation
On Saturday 6 May, many people across the United Kingdom and around the world will celebrate as King Charles III is crowned at Westminster Abbey, alongside The Queen Consort. With many images recording past coronations and over 150 portraits of His Majesty, you can explore this historic ceremony and The King’s life in service ahead of his coronation though works in our Collection.
Explore a selection of ten photographs from our Collection representing King Charles III’s life selected by our Curator of Photography, Clare Freestone.
Clarence House, September 1950, By Cecil Beaton, NPG x29299
This joyful double portrait by one of the most celebrated twentieth Century photographers Cecil Beaton echoes a former royal image. When Princess Alexandra was photographed giving a piggyback to her baby Louise it became the most popular carte-de-visite issued in Britain in the 1860s.
Cecil Beaton: Photobiography, 1951 ‘Prince Charles was at the stage when he was interested in everything: a live wire, he never flagged in energy, even when those around him were exhausted.’
Marcus Adams, Prince Charles, 1953, NPG 140 (27)
Adams devoted his career to the photography of children. He had several tricks to engage his young sitters. He created a new relaxed image of royalty from the 1920s when he photographed the future Queen Elizabeth II as a baby. His studio in Dover Street was filled with gadgets and his special camera disguised as a toy cabinet. His rapport with the future King, as any other little boy, is evident in this touching image.
Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles & Princess Anne by Studio Lisa (Lisa Sheridan), published by The Photochrom Co Ltd, bromide postcard print, 28 September 1952, NPG x193043
Lisa and Jimmy Sheridan were an artistic couple whose informal shots of the royals captured family life at home and away from the public eye. This postcard from our Collection indicates the mass dissemination of the friendly royal image.
Queen Elizabeth II; King Charles III; Princess Anne; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh by Lord Snowdon, 10 October 1957, 11 3/8in. x 8 7/8in. (290 mm x 225 mm), NPG x29573
The young Antony Armstrong-Jones made this ‘immaculately ordered’ group portrait of the royal family in the gardens of Buckingham Palace – as time was pressured he’d planned the shoot carefully beforehand. Unrelated to his royal photography he contributed to era-defining Queen magazine, as well as Tatler. This was the year before he met his future wife Princess Margaret.
by Joan Williams, Trinity College, Cambridge University, 1969, NPG X200234
Williams photographed Charles, who she treated like any other undergraduate, when on location for the BBC. Some of her most intimate images date from the months filming the later banned television documentary the Royal Family, originally commissioned to celebrate the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales.
King Charles III by Norman Parkinson, 1 July 1969, NPG x30171
Parkinson’s models photographed active and out of the studio changed the face of fashion photography; but this was the year he became an official royal photographer, capturing adorned Charles during the investiture ceremony of him becoming the Prince of Wales at Carnarvon Castle in July 1969
Lady Sarah Chatto; King Charles III by Patrick Lichfield, August 1972, NPG x126907
Known for his photographic depictions of Swinging London, Lichfield being the cousin of the Queen was in a position to capture this informal portrait of Charles playing with his young cousin.
King Charles III; Diana, Princess of Wales by Lord Snowdon, 1981, NPG x35372
After a short courtship, Charles and Diana announced their engagement in February 1981. What was dubbed the ‘Lady Diana’ blouse was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, and so enjoyed by Diana that an ongoing connection with the fashion designers was formed.
King Charles III; Camilla, Queen Consort by Alexi Lubomirski, 2018, Published Vanity Fair, December 2018, NPG x201266
Lubomirski, noted of Charles and Camilla, ‘As soon as they looked at each other, there was a sparkle in their eyes’. The leading fashion photographer captured the couple in the Garden Room, Clarence House, with a French tapestry presented to Queen Victoria by the Emperor Napoleon III.
King Charles III by Nadav Kander, 20 August 2013, NPG P1989
Kander, no stranger to capturing great men and women, shot ‘The Forgotten Prince’ for the November 2013 cover of Time Magazine.He said, ‘My research rather than the written word or what a person might have had written about them is in looking at a person … When I look at a person, I intuitively decide how I would like to see them, with regard to how to light them.”
The power of this unflinching portrait is unnegotiable and worthy of the subject’s new role.
Celebrate the Coronation
People across the country and the Commonwealth are invited to celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort over a weekend of special events on 6–8 May.
To celebrate the coronation, BBC Children in Need are inviting families and children to share their creative skills with the world. The Royally Big Portrait is a giant digital portrait of King Charles III featuring thousands of individual portraits of the King drawn by young people from across the UK. The National Portrait Gallery has taken part by highlighting some portraits of monarchs from our Collection to provide inspiration to those taking part. To find out more about The Royally Big Portrait, visit the Children in Need website where you can join in and find out where to see the portrait in person.
This publication highlights the most important portraits of King Charles III from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection, from the beautiful portraits of His Majesty with his mother, Elizabeth II, to works depicting Charles’ sons and wider family.
Including a timeline of key events from Charles’ life, this book explores the future of the monarchy through photographs and paintings of the wider royal family, including Diana, Princess of Wales; Camilla, Queen Consort; William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales; Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex; and Prince George of Wales.