The king will use the same famous red box as his mother and grandfather after it has been painstakingly restored using techniques handed down from generation to generation.
Clearly, Charles wanted to reuse his mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s mailing box, which was itself used first by her grandfather, King George V, and then by her father, King George VI.
The box, the first in a series of boxes to be sent to Charles, has been restored by luxury British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale.
The famous red boxes made by the company are used to carry important papers, including documents that require a signature, briefing papers and information about upcoming meetings.
First established in 1760, the company uses specialist techniques to hand clean and condition the existing red leather on boxes that are refurbished.
In a process known as skiving, the thickness of leather is also carefully reduced by hand using a knife before the leather is carefully applied to the box.
The king will use the same famous red box as his mother and grandfather after it has been carefully restored. The famous red boxes are used to carry important papers, including documents that require a signature, briefing papers and information about upcoming meetings
The box was first used by the late Queen’s grandfather, King George V, and then by her father, King George VI. Their names are printed on the box
The box, the first in a series of boxes to be sent to Charles, has been restored by luxury British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale
New pieces of leather are also hand polished to ensure every edge is strengthened and protected.
Photos of the red box show the lock, stamped with a ‘King George V’ stamp.
The box also features a coronation crown and also contains the code of King Charles III, which is applied in gold leaf with a specially made copper mold.
Not all red boxes used by the royals and government can be repurposed, but some are in good condition to be given a new lease of life.
The King’s encypher will feature extensively on government shipping boxes and other official items made by Barrow Hepburn & Gale.
The cost of the boxes is never disclosed by the company, although restoring existing boxes is cheaper than buying new ones.
On its website, Barrow Hepburn & Gale says its boxes “follow their holder around the world so they can carry out their office responsibilities.”
It adds: “Wherever in the world the Sovereign or Minister is, the red box is close by.
‘Our shipping boxes are not only beautifully designed, but also functional and safe.’
The cost of the boxes is never disclosed by the company, although restoring existing boxes is cheaper than buying new ones
The hand-embossed coronation crown on King Charles III’s first shipping box is shown
The king is expected to receive a dozen boxes over a period of several months.
In a Facebook social media post in September 2015, the royal family’s account said the Queen received red boxes every day of her reign, including weekends, but not on Christmas Day.
With regard to the history of boxes, Barrow Hepburn & Gale said that the modern role of boxes in the administrative process ‘has not changed for more than a century’.
It added: ‘There are two possible reasons why the shipping box took on the iconic red color.
The generally accepted reason relates to Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, who is said to have preferred the color because it was used prominently in his family’s arms, the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
However, there is a school of thought that goes 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 coffer filled with black pudding.
“It was seen as an official communication from the Queen, and so the color red became the official color of the state.”