Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Charles II (1630-85), when Prince of Wales
This portrait was painted at Oxford, the royalist headquarters, where Dobson had established a wartime studio. The Prince of Wales was only twelve when the war broke out in 1642 and he was given command of a troop of Lifeguards formed from volunteers of noble family. He grew up fast in the atmosphere of the royalist camp and Dobson’s portrait conveys something of the boy’s authority, charm and latent ruthlessness.
There is a similar portrait, dated slightly earlier, in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. Both depict the Prince wearing the cuirass (breast-plate and back-plate) from the armour originally made for Charles I, which is still in the Tower of London.
Inscribed: CP (below a crown) AE . / 14 / 1644 (His age, 14, in 1644)