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This is an undated handout photo released by Sutton PR of the painting by Ralph Heimans entitled 'The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012 '. A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on display at Westminster Abbey has been defaced with paint. The abbey says a painting by Ralph Heimans hanging in the building’s Chapter House was vandalized at lunchtime on Thursday. It has been removed from public view until it can be restored. The portrait by Australia-born artist Heimans was commissioned to mark last year's anniversary of the queen's 60 years on the throne. It was on display until March in Australia’s National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. Last week the monarch attended a ceremony in the abbey where she was crowned to mark the 60th anniversary of her coronation in June 1953. (AP Photo / Ralph Heimans / Colin White/Max C/PA) NO SALES

LONDON (AP) - A man has been charged with allegedly spraying paint on a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II hanging in Westminster Abbey, police said Friday.

Tim Haries, 41, appeared at a London court charged with criminal damage over 5,000 pounds ($7,800). He was arrested at the abbey Thursday after a portrait of the monarch by Australian artist Ralph Heimans was defaced with paint.

Fathers 4 Justice, a protest group that campaigns on behalf of fathers denied contact with their children, said Haries was a member. He had painted the word "help" on the 9-foot by 11-foot (2.5-meter by 3.4-meter) canvas, the group said.

Haries didn't enter a plea during his brief court appearance Friday. He was released on conditional bail until a court appearance in two weeks, and banned from London after police raised concerns that he might join a protest there over the weekend.

Heimans' portrait, which depicts the queen standing on the spot in the abbey where she was crowned, was commissioned last year to mark the monarch's 60 years on the throne.

The abbey said the painting has been removed from public view until it can be restored.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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