King Charles will use the same famous red box as his mother and grandfather.

The 74-year-old monarch wanted to reuse the late Queen Elizabeth’s shipping container, used first by her grandfather King George V and then by her father King George VI, and was restored by luxury leather goods company Barrow, Hepburn and Storm.

The company, which dates back to 1760, uses special techniques to hand clean and condition the existing red leather of boxes that are being renovated. In what is known as a peeling process, the thickness of the leather is carefully reduced by hand with a blade before it is applied to the box.

New portions of material are hand blued to ensure every edge is strengthened and protected.

Photographs of the box show a King George V stamp on the lock, an embossed Coronation Crown and Charles’ cipher applied with a custom made brass die in gold leaf.

The famous red boxes – of which the king is expected to receive about a dozen over several months – are used to transport important papers such as briefing documents and information about upcoming meetings or events.

It’s not known how much they cost, although refurbishments are cheaper than buying new.

On their website, Barrow, Hepburn and Gale say their boxes “follow their owner around the world, making sure they can do the job of their office.”


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They add: “Wherever the sovereign or minister is in the world, the red box is nearby.

“Our shipping boxes not only have an elegant design, they are also functional and safe.”

They also explained why the boxes have their distinctive hue.

The website states: “There are two possible reasons why the mailer box was given the iconic red color.

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

“However, there is a school of thought whose origins date 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 containing black pudding.

“It was considered an official communication from the Queen, and so the color red became the official color of the state.”

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