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The Queen unveils new portrait to mark six decades' patronage of the British Red Cross

14 October 2016

A new portrait of The Queen has today (Friday 14 October 2016) been unveiled by Her Majesty in a ceremony at Windsor Castle to celebrate six decades’ patronage of the British Red Cross. It was painted by the artist Henry Ward, 45, following a sitting at the royal residence last year.

This is the first time The Queen has been depicted in a portrait as the patron of the charity, which supports people in crisis in the UK and overseas. 

The new portrait contains imagery which highlights the long-standing relationship between the Royal Family and Red Cross. It includes a bust of Henry Dunant, who founded the Red Cross, and the jewels of Queen Alexandra, who signed the petition for the granting of the British Red Cross Royal Charter before it was it was presented to her husband King Edward VII.

Henry Ward, who was born in Essex and now lives in Canada, was chosen by the Red Cross because of his support of the charity. Henry said: “As a long-standing supporter of the British Red Cross it has been an honour to paint The Queen to celebrate six decades’ of her patronage.

“To portray Her Majesty as monarch and as patron of the Red Cross I have included imagery that relates to the history of the relationship. I have also been influenced by previous Royal portraitists such as Anthony van Dyck and Sir Joshua Reynolds.”

The Royal Family have been closely involved with the Red Cross since it was founded. Queen Victoria became the first royal patron in 1870 and many others since have held significant positions.

The Queen, who is the longest serving patron of the charity, assumed her role following her accession to the throne in 1952. During those years The Queen has supported the organisation by visiting projects and offices and attending and hosting events, such as a Buckingham Palace garden party to celebrate 100 years of the British Red Cross.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “We are hugely grateful to The Queen for sitting for this portrait and unveiling it today. It celebrates the strong relationship between the British Red Cross and the Royal Family and the history of our life-saving work.”

About Henry Ward

Henry Ward is a portrait painter whose style employs techniques used by the old masters whilst also embracing the contemporary context and history of his clients. Henry has exhibited his work nationally and internationally at venues including the National Portrait Gallery, the House of Lords, Christies and in the permanent collection at the Bermuda National Gallery. He is represented by Landau Fine Art in Montreal.

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Notes to editors

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them recover and move on with their lives.

The Queen is also patron of the Canadian Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross.

The Prince of Wales is Red Cross president. Earlier this year he met staff, volunteers and a Syrian family who had been supported by the Red Cross, at one of the charity’s centres in London.

Please contact Alice Owen on aliceowen@redcross.org.uk or 020 7877 7997 for further information.

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