The queen appeared pleased by Escofet’s painting, which was commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Credit: Royal Family/Foreign Commonwealth Office
The portrait depicts the Queen sat on a gilded chair in a blue knee-length dress. An 18th-century painting of her great-great-great-grandmother Queen Charlotte, George III’s wife, is visible in the background, while a cup of tea can be seen on the table next to her.
The virtual unveiling was hosted by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which commissioned the artwork. In a press statement, Escofet described the assignment as a “huge honor,” adding: “I wanted the portrait to capture Her Majesty’s humanity, her radiance and her warmth, which came through so strongly in the two portrait sittings.”
“She was smiling, asking how long it took and if I had any more projects on the go after this,” Escofet told the paper, which reported that the portrait took seven months to complete. “When I explained certain elements of the painting, the tea cup, she made some amusing comments. She said, ‘but there’s no tea in the cup.'”
Britain’s ‘best diplomat’
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“Her Majesty The Queen is our best diplomat,” he said in a press statement. “This beautiful new portrait is a tribute to her lifetime of service and we’re glad our many visitors will see it for years to come.”
The call also served as a chance for the FCO to brief the head of state on its responses to Covid-19, including vaccine development, securing PPE for frontline workers and assisting British travelers overseas. The monarch, whose son Prince Charles contracted the virus in March, praised the department for “doing the most incredible work,” while commending its ability to redeploy resources to help fight the pandemic.
Artist Miriam Escofet and Sir Simon McDonald unveil the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, before others on the call offered updates on the UK government’s response to Covid-19. Credit: Royal Family/Foreign Commonwealth Office
“I always thought it was amazing how quickly your colleagues could adapt,” she told McDonald.