Prince Charles’s New Watercolor Exhibition Launches Amidst Royal Drama

This week, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Andrew would be stripped of his military titles and no longer go by "His Royal Highness."

Prince Charles on December 16, 2021 in Dartmouth, England. Peter Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Given that the British Royal Family is the steward of one of the largest private art collections in the world, its no surprise that some of its most prominent members have nurtured artistic pursuits: this week, the Garrison Chapel in London launched the largest exhibition to date of paintings by Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth who’s also next in line for the throne. The Prince’s preferred medium is watercolors, and he heavily favors richly hued landscapes and tranquil scenes. At the exhibition, he explained that he initially took up painting because he found it to be more fulfilling than photography.

“Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolor and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture which is impossible to achieve via photography,” Prince Charles said. “I am under no illusion that my sketches represent great art or a burgeoning talent! They represent, more than anything else, my particular form of ‘photograph album’ and, as such, mean a great deal to me.”

The exhibition’s start date comes at an extremely fraught time for the Royals. On Thursday, Buckingham Palace issued an announcement that Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second-eldest son, would be stripped of his military titles and royal patronages and no longer use the title “His Royal Highness;” this is a striking development in the ongoing saga of the sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the prince by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 years old.

On Wednesday, a Manhattan federal judge had ruled that Giuffre’s lawsuit against Prince Andrew can go forward. Previously, Prince Andrew’s legal team had contended that the Duke of York was shielded from the lawsuit by a 2009 settlement Giuffre reached with disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Charles’s New Watercolor Exhibition Launches Amidst Royal Drama