UK's King Charles pictured with official red box in new photo

Despatch box is an image strongly associated with the British monarchy

A picture shows King Charles III carrying out official government duties from his red box in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace, London. AFP
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King Charles III was pictured in a photograph released by Buckingham Palace on Friday with his official red box in which the British monarch receives government documents, as the new king takes up his official duties.

The locked red despatch box is an image strongly associated with the British monarchy and the late Queen Elizabeth II was regularly pictured with one.

It contains papers from the British government and some Commonwealth countries which are sent to the monarch from the office of the private secretary.

The image was taken in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace last week.

In the background is a photograph showing King Charles's late parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The queen, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, died on September 8, aged 96.

The black-and-white photograph of the royal couple was given to King George VI for Christmas in 1951 by the couple.

Previously, luxury British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale confirmed that boxes for King Charles were in production.

On September 11, a spokesman for the firm said the king would initially receive more than six boxes, which would carry the new royal cipher.

It is possible that 10 to 12 boxes will be made and delivered in phases over the coming months.

Every box, the price of which is never released, has its own coded lock and is designed to last for many years.

The company says on its website that its boxes “follow their holder around the world, ensuring they can execute the responsibilities of their office”.

“Wherever in the world the sovereign or minister is, the red box is close by,” it added.

“Our despatch boxes are not only an elegant design, but are functional and secure.”

In September 2015, the royal family Facebook account said the queen received red boxes every day of her reign, including on weekends, but not on Christmas Day.

The post said the queen was still using boxes made for her coronation in 1953, which had been “periodically refurbished” to keep them in good condition.

Updated: September 24, 2022, 12:34 AM