(11:45 a.m. EDT) -- Cunard Line will tonight unveil a new portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, specially commissioned to hang on the 92,000-ton, 2,092-passenger Queen Elizabeth. The Queen will name the new ship in Southampton on October 11.
It's Cunard tradition to commission a portrait or sculpture for display onboard each ship named by a member of the royal family. This new portrait, which shows Her Majesty sitting in the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace wearing the same diamond necklace and earrings that she wore for her coronation in 1953, will hang in the ship's Grand Lobby. The painting won't be the only reminder of the new Cunard vessel's royal connections; the principal feature of the Grand Lobby will be the two-deck-high intricate wood marquetry panel created by the Queen's nephew, Viscount Linley.
The portrait was painted by 31-year-old Lancashire-born Isobel Peachey, an up-and-coming portrait painter whose work has been already been displayed in London's prestigious National Portrait Gallery. Lacking a private studio, Peachey completed the painting in her mother's attic.
The Queen will not see the portrait until October 11, when she visits Southampton for the naming ceremony. Let's hope one is amused, as not every portrait of Her Majesty has been hailed as a success. A deeply unflattering painting of the Queen by Lucian Freud, probably Britain's most famous living artist, was described by The Sun newspaper as ‘a travesty' when it was unveiled in 2001.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor