Door into a royal psyche

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The Independent Online
The portrait is headed "HRH The Prince Of Wales, Patron of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, at Highgrove". It is perhaps the most unusual portrait yet of the Prince, with the artist attempting to stress his patronage of the Royal College by exploring a troubled psyche.

The 6ft-high painting shows Prince Charles, who is Patron of the Royal College, standing at the door of a drawing room in Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home. The artist is Michael Noakes, who has spent three years working on the portrait. He has also painted Margaret Thatcher and President Clinton and is a past chairman of the Contemporary Portrait Society.

He said yesterday: "I wanted to avoid painting a proud Prince ... although it shows I hope a man with intelligence and humour, it implies too the sad side of his life."

He added: "I have done something that is unusual by any standards and that is unique with royal portraits, for the canvas is not a regular shape. It follows the line of the architrave around the doorway and the angle of the open door itself: the base is shaped around the tip of his foot over the edge of a mat, and the angled view of that."

The painting is being exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' Exhibition at The Mall Galleries, The Mall, London.