A portrait of the nation’s head of state was rescued from the indignity of a town hall basement and restored to its rightful place in a council chamber in Surrey.

The issue of whether council chambers should have a portrait of the Queen was raised on Conservative Home after the controversial decision of Mid-Suffolk District Council to downgrade its portrait of the monarch, in favour of a piece of trendy modern art.

This highlighted that fact that Guildford Borough Council has never had a portrait of the Queen in its current Council Chamber (although it does have one in its Guildhall). An investigation by local councillor, Sheridan Westlake, uncovered that the Council did have a portrait – donated by a former councillor in 1980s. However, town hall officials had taken the decision to store it in the council offices’ basement instead. This was a particular affront given Guildford Borough Council was granted a royal charter by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.

Having raised the issue at a full Council, last night, it was agreed
that the portrait should be taken out of the basement, and the portrait
was duly erected in the Council’s chamber.

Cllr Sheridan Westlake says:

"It was a sorry state of affairs that a portrait of The Queen, donated to the Council, was relegated to the town hall basement in the name of political correctness.

"Rather than let the portrait gather dust, I am pleased we are now showing due respect and displaying it with pride in our Council Chamber. Recognising our head of state is vital part of promoting a united British identity across all colours, creeds and backgrounds. Trying to erase the monarchy harms, not helps, community cohesion."

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