Seven-year-old Lily Chong-Atkinson is currently waiting for a special letter with great anticipation. After all, it’s not every day that you will get one from Queen Elizabeth II herself.
The Year Three student from Kuala Lumpur’s Alice Smith School was recently selected as the overall winner of her school’s The Queen portrait competition.
As a result, the British High Commission in Malaysia will be sending her A3-size painting to the Queen, who will be writing a letter of appreciation to Lily.
“I’m so excited and happy. I can’t believe my painting will be in Buckingham Palace. I’m so excited about getting the letter from the Queen,” said Lily during a phone interview recently.
The competition was held in conjunction with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Queen Elizabeth made history this year by becoming the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee, marking 70 years of service.
Lily’s mother, Sueann Chong, 41, said her daughter found a photograph of Queen Elizabeth on the Internet and replicated it to the best of her ability.
“She was over the moon when the head teacher personally went into her classroom to tell her she was the overall winner. There were category winners that were announced earlier in the day, but they didn’t reveal who the overall winner was.
“It was a wonderful surprise as there were a lot of amazing artworks to choose from. Lily knew specifically what sort of picture she wanted to paint of Queen Elizabeth. It had to include her beloved corgis, and she wanted an image of the Queen looking happy and comfortable. She completed the painting within three hours,” said Chong, a business development manager.
Chong shared that her only child has been painting since she was a toddler.
“She could paint even before she could speak proper sentences. It has always been her way of communicating. Water colours are her favourite and she carries a set of colouring and art supplies whenever we go out.”
Alice Smith School marketing and communications manager Karen Wong said the portrait competition was open to students from preschool to Year 6.
“To kickstart the competition, we shared with students some famous and ‘infamous’ portraits of the Queen done by artists worldwide. Queen Elizabeth II has had her portrait painted more times than any other person.
“The Queen ‘sits’ or poses for four ‘official’ portraits a year and has had over 967 portraits and photographs of her 70-year reign done. They include Her Majesty wearing her royal gown and crown jewels, to more ‘informal’ images of her relaxing in her ordinary clothes with her beloved horses or corgis.”
Wong added that students could paint or draw a portrait of the Queen in any medium or style.
“We received close to 200 entries. We were amazed by the creativity and talent shown, and the variety of interpretations of the Queen as illustrated by our students,” said Wong, adding that the judging of the competition was done by the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur.