The original photo before damage. Credit: ITV News
In an official statement made by Fathers4Justice, Campaign Director Jolly Stanesby has said, “We understand that a desperate father belonging to Fathers4Justice has attempted to write the word ‘help’ on a portrait of the Queen in Westminster Abbey at lunchtime. [The father] was trying to petition the Queen for help before Father’s Day on Sunday. Up to 4 million children will be without a father this Father’s Day… [The man responsible] has lost all contact with his children and felt he had nothing to lose by appealing directly to the Queen for help by spraying his plea onto her portrait.”
Campaign group Fathers4Justice said one of its members is responsible for damaging a portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, publishing the above photo on their Facebook page. This has been linked to a “Father’s Day protest,” ITV reports. A spokesperson for the group has said this was not an “official protest” and has stressed that the group itself has not taken responsibility for the crime, simply some of their members. The 41-year-old man, alledgedly reported to be a father from Doncaster, who has been arrested on suspicion of damaging the portrait is still in custody.
BBC News confirmed earlier that a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has been defaced with paint. The portrait, which was hung in the Chapter House part of Westminster Abbey, was damaged during lunchtime today.
“In an incident at lunchtime today, a visitor to the Abbey sprayed paint on the Ralph Heimans portrait of the Queen presently on display in the Chapter House,” said an Abbey spokesperson. “Until work can be done to remedy the damage it will, very regrettably, not be possible to have the painting on public view.”
As BBC’s Peter Hunt reports, Buckingham Palace will not be making any comment on the situation.