Portrait of King Charles as rizzed-up final boss instantly modded into Dishonored

A crop of the first official portrait of King Charles III, showing his face.
(Image credit: Jonathan Yeo / The Draper's Company)

Like all Brits I wake up every day and give thanks for our monarchy, before making a cup of tea, nodding at my shrine to Princess Diana, and applying some Duchy-branded resin to the old upper lip. When my day is done the last act is to listen to the shipping forecast, awaiting the glorious moment when "God save the King" lulls me to sleep, perchance to dream of this sceptred isle.

Anyway: last year saw the coronation of the UK's current monarch, King Charles III (for it is he). One of the many traditions the nation upholds (and frankly one of the less weird ones) is commissioning a top artist to paint the odd picture of them, and on Tuesday May 14 the first official portrait of Charles was unveiled by the king himself.

The painting is by Jonathan Yeo, who's alongside Charles as the monarch pulls down the drape covering the frankly enormous portrait. As is the style, the unveiling takes place in a giant gold-spangled room the size of a hangar, and when the drape falls you can see Charles flinch like the British folk hero Brave Sir Robin. As for the picture itself…

My first thought was Cainhurst. This location in Bloodborne can be summed up as 'FromSoftware does Castlevania' and is the now-ruined castle of a vampire-style monarchy, reviled by most other groups in Yharnam, and decked out in all the opulence and faded grandeur you can shake a ceremonial staff at. I think it's the deep reds from which the face emerges: this just looks exactly like the kind of thing you find on the wall in such places.

The red theme dominates, with only Charles' face and hands presented in more natural colors, and I'm far from the only person to have made the link to games because, let's be honest, this is the kind of picture you usually get of an upcoming boss: the military dress outfit and ceremonial sword are just the icing on the cake.

Or as Demonfiretanto put it, "This the type of shit you see hanging on top of a guy's throne in Elden Ring and then the dude's called 'Morgorem, Bloodrot Baron' and he lives in the 'Sanguine Temple of Decay'".

"All that's missing is a Dark Souls health bar," says Cameron Keywood, "CHARLES, KING OF RICHMOND FINGERS". Richmond is a reference to a popular British sausage manufacturer. Eric Arthur Blair, no less, returns from the grave to suggest that "it's a Dark Souls gimmick boss where it turns out you can only damage Charles by attacking the butterfly."

You want a photoshop with a health bar? This guy's gotchu fam:

The other big comparison doing the rounds might be even better. "If you did an irl Dishonored playthrough on the British monarchy you would find this in king Charles' private quarters," observes Tate Paulson, "next to a stereograph playing a recording of him confessing to infidelity and making racist remarks about Meghan Markle."

Then, after the below tweet, things escalated:

Hero modder Timo did God's work by making this a reality: you can now download a mod that puts King Charles' portrait in Dishonored (stealing art is a mechanic). The video below shows it in-game.

Finally, at PCG we've always got time for the classics:

The most widespread comparison is definitely to the Souls series and Elden Ring, which I am happy to note does kind of fit in with existing Royal internet lore. As Mike Drucker adroitly noted at the time, with the pictures to prove it, "Everyone at King Charles’ coronation looks like a Dark Souls character before they turned bad."

As for the picture itself, I'll leave you with one bit of art trivia. The artist Jonathan Yeo was at one time commissioned to paint US President George W. Bush, but when the deal fell through Yeo instead did the portrait as a collage made of pornographic magazines. So despite a few memes about demons and videogames, Charles may well be getting off lightly.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."