King Charles Portrait Defaced by Animal Rights Activists

Animal rights activists have replaced the head of King Charles III’s official portrait with an image of Wallace, a character from the “Wallace and Gromit” animated series.

Members of the Animal Rising group entered the Philip Mould Gallery in London, where the first official portrait of King Charles III is on display, and placed a picture of Wallace over the painting. Alongside the image, they added a speech bubble saying “No cheese, Gromit. Look at all this cruelty on RSPCA farms!”

King Charles is a patron of the RSPCA, a charity that promotes animal welfare in England and Wales. Founded in 1824, the RSPCA relies primarily on donations to fund its work. The charity operates an “RSPCA Assured” program aimed at improving welfare standards for chickens, pigs, and salmon. The RSPCA works with major UK supermarkets and claims that goods carrying the RSPCA Assured mark indicate that animals were raised according to their welfare standards.

Animal Rising stated that their act of vandalism was intended to bring attention to their “damning investigation of 45 RSPCA Assured farms,” which they described as “indefensible” and “effectively fraud.”

“With King Charles being such a big fan of Wallace and Gromit, we couldn’t think of a better way to draw his attention to the horrific scenes on RSPCA Assured farms!” said Daniel Juniper, an Animal Rising activist.

The activists also claimed that their investigation of randomly selected farms revealed “cruelty and suffering at every single one,” including instances of “dead and dying baby chickens, dead pigs left in farm walkways, and salmon being eaten alive by sea lice.”

Philip Mould, the owner of the gallery, told local media that the painting was undamaged and no arrests had been made.

The large oil-on-canvas portrait by Jonathan Yeo, depicting the monarch in the uniform of the Welsh Guards, was unveiled in May. The artwork received mixed reactions, with some praising it while others criticized the choice of red, saying it made Charles III look “like he’s in hell” or as if he is “bathing in blood.”

The king’s portrait is the latest artwork to be targeted by activists. In recent years, works by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Andy Warhol have been vandalized. Earlier this year, members of the ‘Riposte Alimentaire’ (Food Response) group threw soup at Monet’s painting ‘Springtime’ at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, France. Previously, activists from the same group splattered pumpkin soup on Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’ at the Louvre in Paris.

In 2023, climate activists attempted to vandalize an artwork by Monet at the Stockholm National Museum by throwing red paint on it and gluing themselves to the protective glass. Activists from the British group Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ while two others glued themselves to ‘Peach Trees in Blossom’ at the Courtauld Gallery in London, causing permanent damage to the piece.