Abbey and glorious: Portrait of Queen Elizabeth at spot where she was crowned unveiled in all its 11ft glory
By Louise Eccles
In centuries past, royal artists portrayed monarchs as grand, imposing and often rather stern.
But the latest portrait of the Queen pictures her in a moment of quiet reflection as she stands on the spot in Westminster Abbey where she was crowned 60 years ago.
Artist Ralph Heimans said he sought to capture 'her humanity' in the 9ft by 11ft portrait, commissioned by the Palace to mark the Diamond Jubilee.
Her majesty posed for an hour-long sitting in The Yellow Drawing Room, at Buckingham Palace, in March.
Mr Heimans then imagined the dramatic backdrop – the Sacrarium at Westminster Abbey, also known as The Coronation Theatre.
She stands on the Cosmati pavement – a spot where every English monarch has been crowned since it was commissioned by Henry III in the 13th century.
Deep in thought: A new official portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, painted by Australian-born, London-based artist Ralph Heimans shows the monarch looking deep in reflection
Mr Heimans, said: 'I hope there is a degree of humanity uncommon in traditional Royal portraits.
'I wanted her expression to be open to interpretation so that people could imagine what she was thinking at that moment, but I think there is a sense of tenderness and soulfulness, as well as nostalgia and contemplation.
Artist Ralph Heimans poses for photographs in front of the painting 'The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabethh II, 2012' at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia
But there is also a suggestion of her inner strength.
'She has an extraordinary aura and a real energy and presence.'
The painting is entitled:
The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.