A recent portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, unveiled for the diamond jubilee in Westminster Abbey has been defaced with spray paint, by a disenfranchised Fathers4Justice supporter. The 41-year-old man named as Tim Haries, an electrician from South Yorkshire, was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after being detained by security guards at the abbey.
The Campaign group Fathers 4 Justice said they thought a member could have been responsible for the attack, but the action was not official or sanctioned by the group. The protester was charged with causing more than £5,000 worth of criminal damage, after he attempted to spray the word help on the painting. The defacement comes just nine days after the Queen attended a service at the abbey marking the 60th anniversary of her Coronation. Fathers4Justice spokesman Jolly Stanesby said; the suspect was a “desperate dad” wanting to draw attention to the issue of shared parenting.
The oil on canvas by Ralph Heimans went on display in Chapter House in May and depicts the Sovereign in state dress. The large scaled painting measures 9ft by 11ft and shows the Queen in the Sacrarium of Westminster Abbey which is also known as the Coronation Theatre.The Queen sat for an hour for London-based Australian Mr Heimans at Buckingham Palace last year, leaving him to use his imagination to “place” her in the Abbey in the full-size oil portrait. The painting was due to remain on display until September 27, but has now been withdrawn for cleaning.