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Buckingham Palace has released the first photo of Charles on official duty

King Charles has been photographed performing official government duties for the first time
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King Charles is pictured with his red box for the first time.

The picture, taken last week, shows the king performing official duties in the eighteenth-century room Buckingham Palace.

The red boxes contain papers from UK and state government ministers as well as Commonwealth representatives.

Documents from the Private Secretary’s office are sent to the King, wherever he is in the world, in a locked, red dispatch box.

These include papers that require a signature, briefing documents and information about upcoming meetings.

In the picture, Charles is seated at a golden desk and next to him is an open red box, reaching for important papers tied with a ribbon.

In the background, there is a framed black and white photo of his parents, which they gave to George VI for Christmas in 1951.

King Charles has been photographed performing official government duties for the first time

King Charles has been photographed performing official government duties for the first time

The Queen (pictured in 2015) received the red box every day of her reign, including weekends, but not Christmas.

The Queen (pictured in 2015) received the red box every day of her reign, including weekends, but not Christmas.

The Royal Family Twitter page today shared photos of the late Queen with her red box at various times during her reign.

The Royal Family Twitter page today shared photos of the late Queen with her red box at various times during her reign.

Previously, luxury British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale confirmed that boxes for 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 ten to 12 boxes will be produced and distributed in phases over the coming months.

Each box, whose value is never revealed, has its own coded lock and is designed to last for years.

The company says on its website that its boxes ‘follow their holders around the world, ensuring they can carry out their office duties’.

It adds: ‘Wherever in the world the sovereign or the minister, the red box is closed.

In 2015, the royal family's Facebook account said the Queen (pictured in 1972) was still using the boxes made for her coronation in 1953, which had been 'staged refurbished' to keep them in good condition.

In 2015, the royal family’s Facebook account said the Queen (pictured in 1972) was still using the boxes made for her coronation in 1953, which had been ‘staged refurbished’ to keep them in good condition.

British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale says the role of boxes 'hasn't changed in over a century'.  Pictured: Princess Elizabeth talks with her father, King George VI, as she walks through the royal box in a study at Windsor Castle in 1942

British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale says the role of boxes ‘hasn’t changed in over a century’. Pictured: Princess Elizabeth talks to her father King George VI as she goes through the royal box in a study at Windsor Castle

‘Our dispatch boxes are not only an elegant design, but functional and safe.’

In September 2015, the royal family’s Facebook account stated that the Queen received red boxes every day of her reign, including weekends, but not Christmas.

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.

Barrow Hepburn & Gale said the role of the box ‘hasn’t changed for over a century’.

Queen Elizabeth sits at her desk at Buckingham Palace with the palace switchboard behind her and sorts through her red box, which contains documents requiring signatures, briefing documents and information about upcoming meetings.

Queen Elizabeth sits at her desk at Buckingham Palace with the palace switchboard behind her and sorts through her red box, which contains documents requiring signatures, briefing documents and information about upcoming meetings.

Documents are sent from the private secretary's office to the monarch, wherever they are in the world.  Here the box followed from the Queen to Windsor Castle

Documents are sent from the private secretary’s office to the monarch, wherever they are in the world. Here the box followed from the Queen to Windsor Castle

It added: ‘There are two possible reasons why the dispatch box turned the iconic red colour.

‘The widely accepted cause relates to Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, who is believed to have liked the color because it was used exclusively on the arms of his family, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

‘However, there is a line 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 pudding.

‘This was seen as a formal communication from the Queen, and so red became the official state colour.’

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