King Charles’ red box has key difference from Queen’s

King Charles III declared monarch by Accession Council

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The Queen took her royal duties seriously until the end, and she only received one day off a year from her red box duties. Papers from the government would be delivered to the Queen wherever she was in the country, whether it be Buckingham Palace or Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

The late Queen was famously pictured with one of her red boxes to mark the 70th anniversary of her accession earlier this year.

As monarch, the Queen’s cypher of EIIR was embossed on the top of her case.

This cypher featured throughout the Queen’s reign and was engraved on postboxes and sewn onto the uniforms of the Royal Household.

Now Charles’ red boxes will feature his cypher, an interlocked C and R (for Charles and Rex, Latin for King), with ‘III’ included within the R.

The King is to use the same famous red box as his mother and grandfather after it was carefully restored, PA news agency reported.

It is understood that Charles wanted to repurpose the despatch box owned by his mother, which was first used by her grandfather, King George V, and then by her father, King George VI.

The iconic box has been restored by luxury British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale.

The new King’s cypher has been applied to the box in gold leaf using a specially-made brass die.

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The company uses specialist techniques to hand clean and condition the existing red leather on any boxes undergoing refurbishment.

In a process known as skiving, the thickness of the leather is also carefully reduced by hand using a blade before the leather is carefully applied to the box.

New pieces of leather are also hand-burnished to ensure each edge is strengthened and protected.

On its website, Barrow Hepburn & Gale says its boxes “follow their holder around the world, ensuring they can execute the responsibilities of their office”.

It adds: “Wherever in the world the Sovereign or minister is, the red box is close by.

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

The boxes have been red for decades in line with royal tradition. Barrow Hepburn & Gale said: “There are two possible reasons why the despatch box became the iconic red colour.

“The widely-accepted reason relates to Prince Albert, Consort to Queen Victoria, who is said to have preferred the colour as it was used prominently in the arms of his family, the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

“However, there is a school of thought with origins dating back to the late 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I’s representative, Francis Throckmorton, presented the Spanish Ambassador, Bernardino de Mendoza, with a specially constructed red briefcase filled with black puddings.

“It was seen as an official communication from the Queen, and so the colour red became the official colour of the state.”

Charles has been busy adapting to his new role as monarch since the Queen died on September 8, recently hosting his first State Visit at Buckingham Palace.

The King and Queen Consort greeted South African President Cyril Ramaphosa with a ceremonial welcome before throwing a State Banquet in his honour at the Palace.

A few weeks ago he also led the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, his first as Sovereign.

Charles’ coronation will take place in May 2023, and he will formally take the oath as King and be crowned at Westminster Abbey.

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