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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother)

1943-1944
Charles Wheeler

coloured chalk on artist board (sheet: 41.7 cm x 34.5 cm, image: 38.0 cm x 31.0 cm)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (1900–2002) was born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon. A descendant of the royal house of Scotland, she was the fourth daughter of Lord Glamis. After her father inherited his Earldom of Strathmore and Kinghorne in 1904, she became Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. She married Albert, Duke of York in 1923 and they had two children, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. After King George V died in 1936, and King Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, Albert became King George VI and she, Queen Elizabeth. The couple went on many royal tours overseas together and she supported him and braced the spirits of British citizens by staying in England during the Second World War. When the King died in 1952, their eldest daughter became Queen Elizabeth II. One of the most popular members of the royal family, The Queen Mother was patron of many organisations and continued her official public duties until a few months before her death at the age of 101.

Charles Wheeler drew this portrait of Queen Elizabeth in the early 1940s. Although she wears the signifiers of royalty – a crown and royal jewels – she is depicted against a neutral background rather than a palatial interior. The simple lines emphasise her graceful face in profile in a harmonious palette of white, pink and peach.

Purchased 2019
© Estate of Charles Wheeler

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Charles Wheeler (age 62 in 1943)

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (age 43 in 1943)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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