Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a portrait of herself by Northern Ireland painter Colin Davidson at a reception for Cooperation Ireland at Crosby Hall on Tuesday in the honor of Anglo-Irish relations. The event was hosted by Cooperation Ireland’s Chairman Christopher Moran, who bought the 15th century building in 1989, and restored it.
The portrait measuring nearly 4 feet by 5 feet showed the queen wearing a turquoise Karl Ludwig day dress. Davidson has painted prominent figures such as actors Liam Neeson and Brad Pitt, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nobel Laureate poet Seamus Heaney.
"I jested with her she was still talking to me which was good, and she absolutely agreed she still was talking to me – so I took quite a bit of heart from that," the Belfast-born artist reportedly said after the unveiling.
"She commented on the scale and most sitters comment on the scale, she had no idea I was going to make her so big. I told her that's the size I usually paint and I couldn't possibly paint her any smaller," Davidson, who had a 90-minute sitting with the monarch in May, reportedly said. "I feel relief and a great deal of privilege I have to say as well. I realize the gravity of the event, I realize the symbolism of the event as well from an Anglo-Irish point of view, more than anything else. And what I hope is my painting in some way acknowledges the actions she has taken to advance healing in the Anglo-Irish relationship."
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was also present during the unveiling ceremony. Other attendees were Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness, respectively, Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire, and former Taoiseach John Bruton.