Tracey Emin draws the Queen

Written on May 25, 2012 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies

To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the artist has created a ‘strong and sexy and strident’ portrait of Elizabeth II for FT Weekend Magazine.

Tracey Emin has met the Queen both in her home town of Margate and at Buckingham Palace. Emin is a strong royalist, and when we asked her if she would create a royal portrait for the FT Weekend Magazine to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, she readily agreed. This drawing is the result. Emin has entitled it ‘HRH Royal Britania’. She wanted the image to be ‘strong and sexy and strident’, she says. ‘This is what Britannia represents to me’

I have met the Queen twice. She wasn’t at all how I expected. She was extremely petite with a massive smile. Informed. With a good sense of humour. I had imagined her to be a lot more austere, but I was completely wrong. It is her smile that comes to mind when I think of her.

The confusing factor of doing this drawing was that I could have drawn the Queen from how I remembered her. But I decided to represent her as a motif or a symbol, and I think that is how the public acknowledge her. We have a queen – we don’t have a king, we don’t have a dictator – and I think that’s really important. The figurehead of our country is a woman.

The Queen represents something unique in the times we are living in. I support the monarchy, and I think the younger royals are really going to change things. But I don’t think the Queen should retire: she should do exactly what she wants to do.

I’m pleased that people are starting to realise the Queen actually works very hard for this country. I didn’t understand this when I was younger but now I do – with full admiration.

Continue reading in The Financial Times


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