Queen's birthday portrait unveiled
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LONDON, England -- A new portrait of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been unveiled to mark her 80th birthday, showing her dressed all in pink and ready for the races.
The painting by Jemma Phipps captures the monarch in one of her Ascot outfits, complete with matching hat.
It was commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire to celebrate both the revamp of the famous racecourse and the queen's milestone birthday.
Phipps is the daughter of the equestrian and portrait painter Susan Crawford and at 28 is one of the youngest to paint the queen in person.
The image depicts a well-looking queen, clutching white gloves and a program, with a white handbag over her arm.
There is no broad smile as featured in Rolf Harris's portrait of the queen last year.
Phipps picked the baby pink outfit -- which she describes as her own favorite color -- from a selection of outfits presented by the queen's dresser.
"It was quite hard to concentrate as I was trying to get my head around the fact that I was chatting to the queen and she was making me laugh," Phipps recalled of the first sitting in the opulent Music Room of Buckingham Palace.
"I believe I saw a side of our monarch that the public rarely sees. She was quite laid back, yet sharp and a great sense of humor.
"She also has amazingly good skin for an 80 year old. I hope I have done her eyes justice, as they are incredibly beautiful still and always lit up."
'No ordinary granny'
She recalled how it was difficult to forget the queen is "no ordinary granny."
"At the end of the first sitting the queen had to go into the next-door stateroom and be photographed for a coin.
"I was immediately reminded this was no ordinary granny. She walked back through with a tiara the size of a fender on her head and the biggest grin imaginable.
"The dark corner of the Music Room was lit up by sparkling diamonds and a whopper of a smile."
Phipps remembered "tripping over various corgis in the endless corridors" during her three visits to the Palace. The queen is 80 on Friday April 21.
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