royalty 26 of the Most Heinously Unflattering Royal Portraits in History  

Danielle Ownbey
34k votes 6k voters 987k views 26 items Follow Embed

List Rules Vote up the ugliest, most heinously unflattering royal portraits.

In 2013, the unveiling of the first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge caused an international response fit for, say, an actual important international event. People all over the world went crazy with judgment and jeers, critiquing every aspect of the painting. But Kate Middleton's portrait looks like a Rembrandt compared to some of the heinously ugly royal portraits that came before it. The historical artists who crafted many of these horrendously unflattering royal portraits are lucky they aren't alive to experience the wrath of the Twitterverse. If they were, their paintings, and they themselves, would probably be torn to shreds for the travesties they committed to canvas. 

To be fair, it isn't always the fault of the artist that a painting comes out looking like the stuff of nightmares (we're looking at you, Habsbergs). Sometimes, a royal is just plain ugly, and an artist has to grit his teeth and muscle his way through. Perhaps that's why a few monarchs make their way onto the list numerous times...by numerous different artists...

There are also artists throughout history who created intetionally bad portraits, as a means of criticizing a royal individual or family. Ultimately, whether the result of bad artistry or royal inbreeding, these royal embarrassments are our enjoyment. 

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King Charles II of Spain by Juan Carreño de Miranda, c. 1677-1679


King Charles II of Spain by Ju... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 26 of the Most Heinously Unflattering Royal Portraits in History
Photo: Juan Carreño de Miranda/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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King Henry VIII by Peter Isselburg and Cornelis Metsys, 1646


King Henry VIII by Peter Issel... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 26 of the Most Heinously Unflattering Royal Portraits in History
Photo: Peter Isselburg and Cornelis Metsys/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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King Charles II of Spain by Luca Giordano, 1693


King Charles II of Spain by Lu... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 26 of the Most Heinously Unflattering Royal Portraits in History
Photo: Luca Giordano/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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Archduchess Maria Anna of Bavaria by an Unknown Artist, c. 1600


Archduchess Maria Anna of Bava... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 26 of the Most Heinously Unflattering Royal Portraits in History
Photo: Artist Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain