It is the picture of King Edward VIII we never expected to see – the Royal dressed in his Coronation robes.
It was drawn in advance of the ceremony for a special edition of the Illustrated London News but was discreetly shelved when he gave up the throne.
The “secret picture” has remained hidden ever since.
Publishers going through the archives of the famous magazine came across a proof copy of the edition hidden in a box as they moved offices in London.
Among the 80 or so leather-bond pages, they found the portrait among other artists impressions of the event that never happened.
Now they have published the portrait to mark the 75th year since the abdication on December 11, 1936.
Lisa Barnard, chief executive of Illustrated London News, said: “We were very excited when we came across the picture.
“It is very moving when you think what happened later. It shows that he had every intention of being crowned until the last minute.”
The Prince of Wales had become king in January 1936 on the death of his father George VI but as was the custom he was not due to be formally crowned until May 1937.
In preparation he sat for a portrait by the celebrated portrait painter Albert Collings alongside his crown.
He is wearing the Imperial Robe of purple velvet – the cape of ermine and silk worn at the conclusion of the ceremony on the exit from Westminster Abbey.
The King was torn between his love for divorcee Wallis Simpson and the Crown.
Eventually he was forced to abdicate.
Queen Mary, his mother, maintained her anger with her son over his marriage, once remarking: “To give up all this for that”.
It is believed that the original portrait was lost in the war.