This portrait was made in 1561, the year Charles (1550-1574) became king, succeeding his brother François II (1544-1560). It was used as the official image of the new monarch and was copied many times in different media. A drawn copy from Clouet's studio is in the Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, and the artist himself used it for his painted portrait of the young king dated 1561, today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (E. Jollet, Jean & François Clouet, Paris, 1997, illus. p. 231). All the subsequent iconography of the king, including Clouet's later portraits, derives from the present portrait, for example Clouet's drawing of 1566 in the Ermitage, Saint-Petersburg, which is adopting the same pose but where the artist has added a nascent beard (Zvereva, op. cit., no. 396). The Venetian ambassador Giovanni Michiel described the young king in 1561 as 'an admirable child, with fine eyes, gracious movements, though he is not robust'.
The present drawing was the only one from the Raevsky group to retain its original inscription (although it has been retouched). Until now, it was known only through a reproduction in Moreau-Nélaton's book on Clouet published in 1924.