King Charles III portrait: Schools, councils & police stations to receive paintings costing taxpayer £8million

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The news comes ahead of King Charles III’s coronation, which is to be televised on May 6, 2023

Public bodies including schools, local councils, police and fire stations are to receive free portraits of King Charles III ahead of his coronation in May. The total cost of the portraits being sent out will cost the taxpayer £8million.

Organisations run by the state will be entitled to claim one free portrait of His Majesty when the scheme launches later this year, the Cabinet Office said. The initiative follows a similar one to Queen Elizabeth II.

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In a statement, Oliver Dowden, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the pictures would serve as a "visible reminder to buildings up and down the country of the nation’s ultimate public servant".

"They will help us turn a page in our history together and pay a fitting tribute to our new sovereign. I am sure they will take pride of place in public buildings across the land."

The portrait that state-run organisations are entitled to use has to be released by Buckingham Palace. And, with the scheme to run up a huge bill during a cost of living crisis, people argue the money could be spent better elsewhere.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarchy group Republic, described the scheme as a "shameful waste of money". “At a time when a majority of local councils are raising taxes and cutting public services, when schools and hospitals are struggling, to spend even £1 on this nonsense would be £1 too much.

"The government has lost the plot if they think people want their money spent on pictures of Charles. They need to scrap this scheme and direct the money where it’s really needed."

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