Skip to main content

Man arrested after queen's portrait defaced at Westminster Abbey

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
June 14, 2013 -- Updated 0117 GMT (0917 HKT)
Art transportation workers hold a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on May 17 before it is moved into Westminster Abbey.
Art transportation workers hold a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on May 17 before it is moved into Westminster Abbey.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A 41-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage, police say
  • A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey was defaced with paint
  • The portrait, by Ralph Heimans, is being taken down until the damage can be remedied
  • The abbey has been the site of the coronation of English kings and queens since 1066

London (CNN) -- A man has been arrested after a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was defaced with paint Thursday at Westminster Abbey in London, police said.

The 41-year-old man is being held at a central London police station on suspicion of causing criminal damage, London's Metropolitan Police said. The suspect has not been named by police.

The portrait, by the Australian-born artist Ralph Heimans, is being taken down until the damage can be remedied, the abbey said in a statement.

It went on public display last month as part of the abbey's celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the queen's coronation.

Queen Elizabeth celebrates 60 year reign
Why Queen Elizabeth will never abdicate

The 9-foot by 11-foot oil painting depicts the queen in state dress, including the crimson velvet robe she wore for her coronation in 1953, in an imagined scene at night in the abbey.

According to the abbey website, it captures the queen "in a moment of solitary reflection."

Last week, the queen and other royals attended a service at the abbey to mark 60 years since her coronation there.

There have been 38 coronations at Westminster Abbey since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066.

Westminster Abbey is also where Prince William married Catherine Middleton in 2011.

Gallery: A look at the life of Queen Elizabeth II

CNN's Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.
ADVERTISEMENT