Row After Queen's Portrait Removed From Northern Ireland Office

2 August 2019, 13:51

Queen Elizabeth II Royal Portrait Northern Ireland
Queen Elizabeth II arriving by carriage during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. Picture: PA

A portrait of Her Majesty has been removed from the Northern Ireland Office in Belfast after a senior civil servant received £10,000 in compensation for being offended by it.

Portraits of the Queen have been taken down from the Belfast headquarters of the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) after a senior civil servant who was “offended” by them was awarded £10,000 compensation.

A series of landscape paintings have replaced the depictions of the head of state and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

But the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has called on the new Secretary of State to reinstate a portrait of the Queen at Stormont House.

Party leader Arlene Foster said it was ridiculous that it had been removed.

"It is beyond parody that there is a dispute over a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen, our head of state," she tweeted.

It transpired that the Royal portrait had been removed during Boris Johnson's visit to Northern Ireland this week.

Northern Ireland: Boris Johnson Urges Restoring Devolved Government

According to Ulster Unionist Party politician Lord Empey, Boris Johnson looked "surprised" by the absence of the portrait, and an official told him it was due to "a personnel issue".

Queen Elizabeth II Conservative party Boris Johnson Royal Family Portrait Prime Minister
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. Picture: PA

Northern Irish politician Lord Maginnis told the House of Lords that a civil servant had been paid £10,000 in compensation for being offended at having to walk past portraits of the head of state and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Newly elected Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith has showed his support for Her Majesty by tweeting "Proud to have a picture of Her Majesty The Queen on the mantlepiece of my private office at Stormont."