King Charles III’s new portrait is uniting royal fans and haters: Neither group likes it

Bryn HealyU.S. News social media intern
June 03, 2024, 4:29 PM GMT+0

The first official portrait of King Charles III of the United Kingdom was unveiled in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on May 14, 2024. The controversial deep red portrait by artist Jonathan Yeo drew widespread attention in the news media and on social media. Salon described the portrait “grotesque” and the Guardian called it a “pinkish psychedelic splurge.” In contrast, a CNN op-ed called the portrait a “fitting representation” of the new King, echoing praise of Queen Consort Camilla.

About half of Americans (51%) had heard at least a little about the portrait of King Charles by mid-May.

The survey provided a peek at the portrait of King Charles III, which shows him wearing a red Welsh guard uniform on a red background. Then it asked respondents for their reaction. The survey found that 49% of Americans would say, after seeing the portrait, that they dislike (30%) or hate (19%) it. More women than men have unfavorable opinions of the portrait (55% vs. 43%).

The portrait of the King Charles III by artist Jonathan Yeo is unveiled in the blue drawing room at Buckingham Palace on May 14, 2024 in London, England.

Americans who have a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion of six British royals are more likely to dislike the portrait or hate it than were those with a more positive opinion. But even among Americans who have a favorable opinion of each of the six royals polled about, more dislike than like the portrait. Liking the king did at least correspond to a relatively large lift in positive feelings about the portrait: 30% of Americans who have a favorable opinion of King Charles III like his new portrait, compared to 11% of Americans who dislike King Charles III.

37% of Americans have a very or somewhat favorable view of King Charles III and 38% have an unfavorable view. 44% had a favorable view in February. The king’s cancer diagnosis in April does not appear to have boosted his support, with his favorability essentially unchanged since March.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, among the most popular of the British royals, also had a recent portrait that received some criticism. Some critics claimed the portrait by Hannah Uzor does not look like the princess. Unlike her father-in-law — but like her husband, Prince William — Catherine, Princess of Wales is viewed favorably by a majority of Americans.

See the results from this YouGov poll conducted May 16 - 19, 2024


Methodology: The poll was conducted online among 1,157 U.S. adult citizens from May 16 - 19, 2024. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3.5%.

Image: Getty (Aaron Chown-WPA Pool/Getty Images)