As It Happens

Artist who painted famous "Queen on Moose" meets Her Majesty

Charles Pachter's most well-known work, "Queen on Moose," caused a sensation in 1972. When he met The Queen last week, she was "amused."
Queen Elizabeth II meets Canadian artist Charles Pachter during the official reopening of Canada House in London on February 19. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Forty-three years ago, scandals weren't what they are today.

In 1972, Charles Pachter created a huge controversy in the art world by painting a portrait of The Queen . . . on mooseback. Royalists picketed his home and called radio shows demanding the Toronto native "go home."

A few days ago, Pachter finally got a chance to meet the woman in his most famous painting. Both The Queen and the artist were invited to the reopening of the Canadian High Commission in London. And Pachter wasn't going to let the opportunity go to waste.

"I decided I've only got one shot at this. I'm 72 now. She's 88. And I'm going to make sure I'm standing in the right place," he explains to As It Happens host Carol Off.

(Charles Pachter)

He made sure to wear his large Order of Canada medal and it caught The Queen's eye.

"So she came over and I didn't even wait a second," he says. "I said, 'Your Majesty, it's such an honour to meet you. Forty-two years ago, I painted you on a moose and it became my most famous image.'

"She actually beamed and smiled and said to me, 'Oh, how amusing,'" he recalls. "She radiated. She was so sweet."

He's not sure if The Queen has ever seen the painting. He had sent copies over the years to Buckingham Palace and received replies saying, "Her Majesty wishes to thank you for your thoughtful gift and assures you that an appropriate place will be found for it." He laughs thinking about where that place might be.

Pachter has made many other images with members of the Royal Family and moose over the years. Now that he has met The Queen in person, he says he may have something new up his sleeve.