King Charles to have day of private reflection at Highgrove after momentous week

New British monarch has returned to his Highgrove home and will not perform any public duties on Thursday

King Charles III behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is brought into Westminster Hall, London, where it will lie in state before her funeral on Monday. PA
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King Charles III is to have some time away from public duties on Thursday and will spend the day in private reflection after a momentous period in which he became the new British monarch.

The king is not expected to attend any public events on Thursday and has returned to his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire.

In the guidelines known as “London Bridge”, which detail plans for the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II's death, a day was set aside for the new monarch to have some time away from public duties.

The period will allow the king to pause, but it is understood he will be working to prepare for his new role and will already be receiving his red boxes of state papers.

The new monarch led the royal family in a public display of homage to the late queen on Wednesday by walking behind her coffin with his siblings, sons and other relatives as it was carried into Westminster Hall, where it will lie in state until the funeral on Monday.

Watched by tens of thousands lining the route from Buckingham Palace, the king delivered his mother to the hands of the nation for a period of four days.

The public pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster — in pictures

Every day of the year, except Christmas Day, he will receive from government ministers — and from representatives in Commonwealth and foreign countries — information in the form of policy papers, Cabinet documents and Foreign Office telegrams.

The correspondence also includes a daily summary of events in Parliament, letters and other state papers which are sent by his private secretary in the red boxes also used by government ministers to carry confidential documents.

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin procession from Buckingham Palace — in pictures

All of the papers have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed.

The red boxes are made by leather goods company Barrow and Gale but it is not known if King Charles has received a new set or is using the queen’s boxes for the time being.

The late queen still used the boxes that were made for her on her coronation in 1953, having had them refurbished over the years.

This is the moment Queen Elizabeth II left Buckingham Palace for the last time — video

Updated: September 15, 2022, 10:28 AM