Exclusive: Beano artist reveals secret portrait he created for Prince George and Princess Charlotte - (and we think Prince Louis will be gutted he missed out)

Prince George and Charlotte had a specially commissioned caricature done by artist Nigel Parkinson in the style of the beloved children's comic book The Beano, we wonder where it's hanging in the royal household...

Nigel Parkinson drop in and Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince George as main
(Image credit: Getty Images / Future owns drop in of Nigel Parkinson)

Beano artist reveals he did a cartoon portrait of Prince George and Charlotte in the style of popular children's comic The Beano - but Prince Louis missed out on the opportunity, and we think he'll be gutted.

When it comes to nostalgia, there are plenty of children's toys making a comeback - from the seven most popular toys when millennials were kids to the best toys of the 90s, it's thought that childhood memories shape who we are.

But one childhood experience Prince George and Charlotte - as well as their parents Prince William and Kate Middleton - got to enjoy was being turned into a caricature on paper, Prince Louis missed out on the fun cartoon portrait.

We visited The Toy Fair in London and spoke exclusively to British cartoonist Nigel Parkinson, who works for D.C Thomson & Co. Ltd and mainly draws for The Beano and The Dandy. The Beano is a pioneering children's magazine that contained mostly comic strips with characters including Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger, and Billy Whizz, to name but a few.

Nigel revealed that over the years of his 43-year career, he's had some royal commissions at the request of the late Queen Elizabeth II and also the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Nigel Parkinson, The Beano cartoonist
Nigel Parkinson

Nigel has been cartooning in comics for more than 43 years and did his first drawing when he was 16 months old. There has never been more than a day or so since then that I haven't drawn, over the last 60 years. October 2020 marked the 60th anniversary of his first drawing and also the 40th anniversary of having paid, published cartooning work in comics, in October 1980. 

He told us, "The Queen came to me about six or seven years ago...she wrote me a letter. I just drew her." Not phased by the important commission, you might be wondering where one starts when turning the now-passed Queen of England into a cartoon. "I had a stamp to start with" he joked "She's quite famous so there are a lot of pictures of her."

Nigel revealed that he had free reign of what image to work from and wasn't told it had to be a certain way. "So I did it and she wrote me another letter saying she was "delighted"" he recalled. And while we cannot see a photo of the finished piece, Nigel teased that it was a "regal" one.

To no surprise, when the rest of the Royal Family saw the portrait, they too wanted one and Prince William and Kate got in touch. Nigel revealed, "I haven't done the youngest one, I've done Charlotte and George. They were separate." And again, Nigel was left to his own artistic devices "It's too much pressure on them [to sit in person], I prefer a photo that I can just [work from]... I like to see what they look like so use a picture of the two of them."

And while he's never met the young royals, speaking of William and Kate, Nigel said, "I've done them as well, they were delighted."

If like us you're wondering what the Wales family portraits looked like, Nigel revealed, "They were in shorts and t-shirts."

Nigel Parkinson at The Toy Fair London, drawing a cartoon

(Image credit: Future)

Nigel is a pro at caricatures, so much so that he admitted if a portrait is easy it "takes five minutes" but if it's difficult it will take him longer.

And he gave us his tips if kids want to try it themselves. He said, "The top tip is to draw. If you like to draw, draw. And if you don't like to draw, find something else to do. If you like to draw it's just practice. Draw every day."

And we saw him use a mixture of pencil and black pen to create his cartoon portraits. He explained, "I used to not start in pencil but then I thought I could do it faster if I did a quick one in pencil but I have to make the judgement as I'm going along with it.

"It was quite nerve-wracking actually [drawing the royals]" he added. But it's not one of his favourite cartoon works - instead, he loved drawing Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney because the publicity went worldwide. Nigel added, "He said that some members of his family thought it was the best thing he'd ever been involved in."

In other royal news, this comment King Charles made on Prince George's first day at school is going viral years later and Prince Louis's official name was changed by the late Queen as she overturned historic rule.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)