Wearing a menacingly friendly smile and the blue sash of the order of the elephant, Denmark’s highest-ranking honour, the Duke of Edinburgh stands in the grand corridor of Windsor Castle in a new portrait unveiled on Monday.
It was painted in the year Prince Philip announced his retirement from formal public engagements at the age of 96, and will be on display in a museum exhibition in Denmark before moving to London in 2018. The artist, the Australian-born Ralph Heimans, said he hoped it did justice “to his unique character”.
The grand corridor leads to the tapestry room where the prince’s mother, Princess Alice, was born in 1885. Heimans said of the setting: “Aesthetically, the natural light and heritage backdrop of the grand corridor at Windsor Castle provided a compelling mood.”
The Danish decoration was chosen to mark Philip’s close family associations with the country. His great grandfather, Christian IX, was king of Denmark from 1863 to 1906. The portrait will be included in a retrospective of the artist’s work at the museum of national history at Frederiksborg castle in Denmark.
Heimans also painted a towering official portrait of the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year, which attracted record crowds when it was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in Australia. It was defaced with spray paint in 2013 while on view in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey. The portrait, depicting the Queen as a thoughtful, isolated figure standing near the high altar where she was crowned in 1953, has now been restored and will be seen again in the abbey’s new museum.