MP for the Potters Bar area, Oliver Dowden, is fronting a scheme to supply public buildings with King Charles III portraits.

Councils, courts, schools and police forces are among the organisations which can apply for a portrait of the King, whose coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on May 6 this year.

The Cabinet Office announced the scheme in April, and the portal to request images opened on Tuesday, November 14, Mr Dowden confirmed in an X post.

Welwyn Hatfield Times:

According to the Cabinet Office, the scheme will cost the taxpayer £8million.

Buckingham Palace will unveil the portrait in December.

A statement on the portal reads: “The UK Government is pleased to offer this portrait to commemorate the accession of His Majesty King Charles III.

“Public authorities that fall within certain defined groupings are eligible for this portrait at no cost to themselves and will have received a communication informing them how to request a portrait.

“The image of the King will be released by Buckingham Palace in December.

“It will be a photograph of His Majesty in full regalia in a formal setting.”

Public authorities have until February 2, 2024 to make their requests, and they can expect deliveries to arrive between February and April.

The plan has provoked ire from campaigners and members of the public.

“This is a shameful waste of money,” said Graham Smith of the anti-monarchy campaign Republic when the government announced the scheme earlier in 2023.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

Welwyn Hatfield Times:

After Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden declared the portal open on X (formerly Twitter), one social media user replied: “People are going hungry and cold in this country.”

Another wrote: “Why are you spending money on this when people can’t afford to pay their bill, foodbank usage is so high and the roads are mainly potholes?”

But a third said: “You should be requiring every school, council and public building to be displaying one.”

Welwyn Hatfield Times:

When he launched the scheme last April, Mr Dowden, who represents the Borehamwood and Potters Bar areas in the House of Commons and serves as deputy prime minister to Rishi Sunak, said: “We have entered a new reign in our history.

“Now, as we unite in preparing for the splendour of the King’s coronation, these new portraits will serve as a visible reminder in buildings up and down the country of the nation’s ultimate public servant.”