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Her face is lined and careworn. Her eyes are tired, her hands rough. It's not a portrait of a washerwoman - but the British head of state, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The latest portrait of the queen, unveiled Wednesday at London's Mall Galleries, near Buckingham Palace, has stirred some controversy.Defenders say the painting is a "fearless" attempt to portray the queen as a 70-year-old woman. Detractors say it is unflattering and fails to capture her character.

"I think it's a powerful painting, but it hasn't, in fact, got the essence of the queen, which is a serenity, benevolence and a happiness," said Lord St. John Fawsey, a former government minister.

"A portrait, I think, should have the whole person, and it hasn't got that," he added.

However, Royal Society of Portrait Painters president Daphne Todd praised the artist, Antony Williams.

"It's one of the best paintings of the queen I've ever seen because it's not superficial," she said. "So many paintings of her aim to flatter, partly out of deference, but this is a vision of a human being who also happens to be the monarch."

Williams, 31, had six sittings with the queen at Buckingham Palace, and said he had to request that she stop fidgeting.

"The queen was constantly being distracted by things in her garden or she was quite keen to talk," he said. "It was quite a struggle - an ordeal and quite overwhelming. But she was very easy to get along with."