New portrait of King Charles released to mark monarch’s 75th birthday

Publish Date
Tuesday, 14 November 2023, 2:46PM
Photo / AP

Photo / AP

The King has been photographed by fashion photographer Rankin to mark his 75th birthday.

The monarch, who is turning 75 today, will feature on the front cover of Big Issue magazine in an image that captures his “steely determination”.

By coincidence, Elizabeth II was also 75 when she was photographed by Rankin, although the portraits could not be more different.

The intimate, black-and-white portrait of the King was captured in the garden at Clarence House in October. The aim was to create something that was “timeless and classic”.

By comparison, the late Queen was photographed in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace. Beaming at the camera and wearing bright-pink lipstick, the image, taken in December 2001 to mark her golden jubilee, was superimposed against the Union Flag.

Rankin, 57, is one of few photographers who can lay claim to working with two monarchs.

He later revealed the Queen was “very funny” during the shoot and brought a “wave of power” into the room.

He admitted he had wanted to picture her holding a sword, but she told him she did not like her hands.

Meanwhile, Charles was said to have enjoyed working with the Glasgow-born photographer and was “delighted” with the results.

Many shots were taken both inside the house and outside, on what was described as a “rather grisly” grey morning.

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King has a ‘steely determination’

Rankin said: “It was an absolute honour to shoot this specifically for Big Issue and specifically around the Coronation Food Project, which I’m a big supporter of, and is something we don’t talk about enough.

“I’ve always thought that he’s a very resilient human being. I think that’s what I got from him, that kind of steely determination.”

The King is using the occasion of his birthday to launch a scheme that aims to join the dots between food waste and food need by distributing food otherwise destined for landfills.

In Big Issue, he says: “Food need is as real and urgent a problem as food waste — and if a way could be found to bridge the gap between them, then it would address two problems in one.

“It is my great hope that this Coronation Food Project will find practical ways to do just that — rescuing more surplus food, and distributing it to those who need it most.”

The project is being spearheaded by Baroness Louise Casey and Dame Martina Milburn, who each offered a snapshot of food insecurity across the UK and the organisations supporting those in need.

King’s support of Big Issue ‘goes back decades’

Paul McNamee, editor of Big Issue, said: “King Charles’ support for the Big Issue goes back decades.

“He opened one of our London offices in the 90s, when he met an old school friend who was selling the magazine.

“The King’s attachment to the Big Issue has remained strong since, as has that of the entire royal family, and we’re delighted he gave us his time and his words.

“Equally, we understand the pressures millions of Britons face over food costs and supplies, and we back the Coronation Food Project.

“The cover comes at a key moment, when vendors face a tough winter. This will hopefully boost their sales, which is at the heart of why we exist.”

The Big Issue cover features a portrait of King Charles III taken by photographer Rankin to mark the King's 75th birthday and the launch of the Coronation Food Project. Photo / Rankin via AP

Magazine founder Lord Bird said: “It’s grand that King Charles has his portrait on the cover of the Big Issue.

“His Majesty has long been a supporter of the Big Issue. He opened London Big Issue offices. During one opening some 26 years ago, he met one of his old school friends who was then selling the Big Issue.”

On the eve of his birthday next week, the King will join fellow 75-year-olds for a special party at Highgrove.

The monarch will gather at his Gloucestershire home on Monday with community champions who, like him, were born in 1948.

On Tuesday, he will be joined by the Queen to visit a surplus food distribution centre near London as he launches the Coronation Food Project.

Later, he will host a reception at Buckingham Palace for 400 nurses and midwives, as part of this year’s NHS 75 celebrations before hosting a private dinner for friends and family at Clarence House.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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