King Charles portrait
Image via Jonathan Yeo Studios

King Charles being compared to Satan isn’t even the fieriest reaction his new portrait has evoked

We love it, but is Charles' new portrait hiding some seriously diabolical hidden imagery?

It’s safe to say the new official portrait of King Charles III is turning heads. Time was a new Royal portrait would be a well-executed yet dull oil painting, destined to end up gathering dust on the walls of the National Gallery.

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Well, Jonathan Yeo has bucked that trend with a truly eye-catching image that sees Charles’ head peering out of what appears to be a sea of blood, with the surreal addition of a Monarch butterfly to his shoulder. According to the artist the image is supposed to symbolize Charles’ metamorphosis from Prince to King while trying to bring a little magic back to the monarch.

But, if reactions online are anything to go by, the magic at work is dark and diabolical – and conspiracy theorists are going wild picking it apart in every conceivable way:

Adding some fuel to this fire is what appears to be the image of a goat-headed demon when you mirror the portrait. Coincidence, or secret Satanic message – you be the judge!

And, digging a little deeper, the Monarch butterfly will be well-known to those aware of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control program, which plays a central role in multiple conspiracy theories.

Charles, Camilla, and even the late Queen Elizabeth II (who saw it as a work-in-progress before she died) are all said to have quite liked the painting, but we have to wonder if Yeo is having a bit of fun here. After all, this is an artist who lost out on a Presidential commission for the official portrait of George Bush Jr, and responded by doing an unofficial image in which Bush’s face was assembled from a collage of hardcore porn.

Whatever the case, opinion has well and truly been split down the middle, though not in the way you might expect. For example, figures on the extreme right have criticized this as “the ugliest thing I have ever seen“, only for their followers to disagree, amusingly because many of them genuinely believe the British Royal family is Satanic, making this an accurate portrait. Also, many of them just seem to like the image.

Whatever the case, we’re absolutely down for Yeo to scoop up some more high-profile commissions. If Donald Trump is looking for someone to produce an eye-catching portrait, we’re betting Yeo could push the boat out to give us something that goes beyond surreal and into real The Evil Dead territory.


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David James
London-based writer of anything and everything. Willing to crawl over rusty nails to write about 'Metal Gear Solid' or 'Resident Evil.'