Early Elizabeth I portrait fetches $5.3 million

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The earliest known full-length portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, thought to have been commissioned to help the English monarch "advertise" herself to potential suitors, sold on Thursday for 2.6 million pounds ($5.3 million).

The life-sized painting by Antwerp artist Steven van der Meulen, who went on to become an important English court painter in the 1560s, had been expected to fetch between 700,000 and one million pounds, auctioneer Sotheby's said.

"Like her father, Henry VIII, she was incredibly conscious of how important her image was," said Emmeline Hallmark, head of the Sotheby's British paintings department.

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