A new portrait of the Queen hanging in Westminster Abbey has been defaced by a paint-spraying assailant.

Popular on LondonNet

A spokesman for the Abbey said: “In an incident at lunchtime today (13.06.13), a visitor to the abbey sprayed paint on the Ralph Heimans’s portrait of the Queen presently on display in the Chapter House.

“Until work can be done to remedy the damage it will, very regrettably, not be possible to have the painting on public view.”

The picture was specially commissioned for last year’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and was the only portrait made of the monarch in her Diamond Jubilee year. It was completed by the Australian-born artist in March 2012 and put up in May this year.

The artwork’s full title is The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and it was previously exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia, before it came to London, where it was a huge success, attracting over 100,000 visitors.

The painting shows the 87-year-old monarch standing in the Sacrarium of Westminster Abbey, but was painted during a sitting at Buckingham Palace to achieve the best possible resemblance.

The dramatic incident comes just nine days after the royal family attended a special service at the Abbey