King Charles will use the same famous red box as his mother and grandfather.
The 74-year-old monarch was keen to repurpose the dispatch container owned by the late Queen Elizabeth, which was first used by her grandfather King George V and then her father King George VI, and it has been restored by luxury leather goods company Barrow, Hepburn and Gale.
The company, which dates back to 1760, use specialist techniques to hand clean and condition the existing red leather on boxes undergoing refurbishment. Using a process called skiving, the thickness of leather is carefully reduced by hand using a blade before being applied to the box.
New pieces of the material are hand burnished to ensure each edge is strengthened and protected.
Photos of the box show a King George V stamp on the lock, an embossed coronation crown and Charles’ cypher, which was applied in gold leaf using a specially-made brass die.
The famous red boxes – of which the king is expected to receive around a dozen over several months – are used to carry important papers such as briefing documents and information about upcoming meetings or events.
It is unknown how much they cost, though refurbishments are cheaper than buying new.
On their website, Barrow, Hepburn and Gale say their boxes “follow their holder around the world, ensuring they can execute the responsibilities of their office”.
They add: “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.”
They also explained why the boxes are their distinctive hue.
The website states: “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.”
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