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Camilla features in royal group portrait.

The first group portrait of the Royal Family to feature the Duchess of Cornwall will go on public display this week.

The impressionistic work by artist Sergei Pavlenko depicts all the senior members of the Monarchy and commemorates the commissioning of Prince Harry into the British Army.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales are shown smiling on the steps of the Old College at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst as they gaze at William and Harry.

Mr Pavlenko said: "Like all other human beings they are good subjects, I don't differentiate people by who they are.

"If you want to paint a good portrait it doesn't matter if the person is old or young, a man, woman or child, from that point of view they were like all of us.

"But because they are royal public figures it's an interesting challenge and brings more interest to my work because it becomes historical."

The artwork is only the second group portrait of the modern monarchy and depicts Harry's graduation day from the Academy last April, while at the time his older brother was still a cadet officer.

All the Royal men are wearing military uniforms in the painting with the young princes in their Sandhurst Blues and Charles in a Lieutenant General's frock coat.

Also shown is the former Commandant of Sandhurst Major General Andrew Ritchie with Camilla behind him.

Mr Pavlenko, aged 53, born in Russia but now a British citizen, graduated in painting from the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts in 1988 and in 2000 painted an image of the Queen which was later used for a postage stamp. The artist began working on the group portrait, commissioned by Sandhurst, a few months before Harry's graduation and used large figures to represent the royals, moving them around until he was happy with the grouping.

During the next stage some of the subjects were available to pose including William and Harry, now officers in the Blues and Royal, along with Sandhurst staff but senior Royals were not present. When the Prince passed out from Sandhurst Mr Pavlenko was able to briefly arrange the Queen and the other royals on the Old College steps after the ceremony and took photographs to aid his work.

"At that stage I was looking at what poses they would take, how they would stand, their relation to each other in terms of height and light. I wasn't concerned about the facial expression. Those would done during the live sittings," he said.

The senior royals later posed for the artist at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House and had a preview of the painting when, almost finished, it was hung at Sandhurst's Old College in Camberley, Surrey during Harry's graduation.

"I asked Princes William and Harry if they liked it and they said yes," the artist said. The portrait will be displayed at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' annual exhibition.

Queen supports the Gunners

The Queen is an Arsenal supporter, it was reported yesterday.

The 81-year-old monarch revealed she was a fan of the Gunners to the club's midfielder Cesc Fabregas at a Palace reception for the team in February.

Prince Harry is also a fan and the late Queen Mother was a keen supporter of the north London side.

Manager Arsene Wenger and the football stars were invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen after she was forced to pull out of opening their new stadium because of a bad back.


The first group portrait, by artist Sergei Pavlenko, of the Royal Family to feature the Duchess of Cornwall
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 24, 2007
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