Outrage Over £8 Million Price Tag for King Charles III’s Official Portrait

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The unveiling of King Charles III’s official portrait, destined for public buildings across the UK, has sparked controversy over its staggering £8 million price tag. Critics, including anti-monarchy group Republic, have denounced the project as a “shameful waste of money” given the ongoing economic crisis. Despite facing backlash, the UK Cabinet Office defends the initiative, citing the tradition of displaying official monarch portraits in public institutions.

The Portrait: A Regal Display of Military Might

Captured by society photographer Hugo Burnand at Windsor Castle last year, the portrait showcases King Charles III adorned in full military regalia. Public authorities, including local councils, courts, schools, and police forces, now have the opportunity to request a free framed portrait until February 2. The 64cm by 51cm portraits are expected to be delivered between February and April, extending the practice of displaying official monarch portraits in public spaces.

Government’s Justification and Public Outcry

The Cabinet Office allocated funds last year to offer every public body the portrait of King Charles III, drawing parallels with the existing official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II. However, critics argue that, amid rising taxes and cuts to public services, the £8 million expenditure is misplaced. Republic’s chief executive, Graham Smith, deemed the initiative antiquated, emphasizing the need to redirect funds to essential services, such as schools and hospitals.

Deputy Prime Minister’s Defense and Historical Reflection

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has defended the portrait project, asserting that it serves as a reminder of the exemplary public service provided by the monarchy. Despite the criticisms, the Cabinet Office, in a recent press release, emphasized that King Charles III’s portrait symbolizes a “new era in our history.” However, skeptics question the use of the term “new” in light of the ongoing economic challenges faced by the nation.

Calls for Reevaluation and Redirecting Resources

Amid the public outcry, calls for a reevaluation of the project have intensified. Republic, echoing the sentiments of many, urges the government to abandon the scheme and redirect the substantial funds to address pressing needs. The controversy underscores the tension between tradition and fiscal responsibility in a time of economic uncertainty, leaving the government at odds with critics over the allocation of resources for symbolic gestures.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Dawn

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