All over the world yesterday, the first official portrait of King Charles with Queen Consort Camilla was being studied with affection and fascination.
Affection because rarely has Charles looked so at ease in a formal photograph, and fascination because with William and Kate, the new Prince and Princess of Wales, at his side, we have a glimpse of the present and future of the monarchy.
Observers will search for clues about everything from its composition and backdrop to what it tells us about the long-term security not only of the Royal Family but, more pertinently, of the institution that they represent.
The photograph is brimming with symbolism of course: the new sovereign is pictured with his son and heir, while looming behind them is a glowering portrait of King George III, the longest-reigning male monarch in British history.
But what is perhaps even more remarkable is that the picture was taken on the eve of the Queen’s funeral, when our four most senior royals were about to host…