The royal continuity campaign at Buckingham Palace continues: Four days after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the palace posted a new picture of King Charles III carrying out one of his key duties: Reviewing government papers contained in an iconic red box.
The picture shows the new king in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace last week before the funeral Monday of his mother, who died Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The picture, taken by photographer Victoria Jones of the Press Association, shows the king sitting at an antique desk, his hand on an open box filled with jumbled papers, at least one rolled up and tied with a ribbon. (The documents in the image were blurred.)
"It shows His Majesty The King carrying out official government duties from The King’s Red Box," the palace statement said.
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Meaning: Charles, who became king the moment the queen died, also began working as the United Kingdom's head of state immediately, even as he and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, traveled to greet people in the capitals of his kingdom and prepared for a grueling and complex state funeral.
The picture is another emblem of the continuity the palace and the new king have been trying to convey in the wake of the death of the beloved and long-reigning queen.
Another signal of continuity: The photo in the background of the picture shows Charles' parents, the late queen and the late Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April 2021. The photo was a gift from then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip to her father (and Charles' grandfather), King George VI, for Christmas in 1951, a few months before the king died in 1952.
On Saturday the palace released another photo showing the official ledger stone that marks the queen's interment in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.
The black marble stone includes the queen's name in brass letter inlays below her husband's name. Her father, King George VI and her mother, Queen Mother Elizabeth have their names engraved above Elizabeth and Philip. Her sister, Princess Margaret, who was cremated after her death in 2002 also rests in the chapel.
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What is the "Red Box?"
The "Red Box" with the royal cypher in gold is an unmistakable sign of the monarchy. Under British spelling, it's called a despatch box. When closed, it looks like a square, leather-covered wooden briefcase with a lock.
The queen's box carried the words “The Queen.” The king's box has his own cypher and is marked "The King."
The concept of a despatch box dates back to Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Originally, it contained an important message, or dispatch, to the queen.
Today, the box is red and is used by government ministers in the U.K. and the Commonwealth to send important and/or sensitive documents and papers that the monarch must review or sign in order for government to function.
His Majesty The King’s Red Box 🧰
The Red Box contains papers from government ministers in the UK and the Realms and from representatives from the Commonwealth and beyond. pic.twitter.com/C4JrXHS3uO
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 23, 2022
"The papers they contain ensure there is transparency in the decision-making process, and provide a historic record. Physical documents and papers remain as important now as ever," according to Barrow Hepburn & Gale, the London luxury leather goods company that makes the red boxes.
The documents inside are sent daily from the monarch's private secretary to the monarch wherever he or she may be in residence. He or she gets only one day off from doing their boxes: Christmas.
During Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign, she was sometimes photographed with a red box, which came to be associated with her almost as much as her horses and corgis. On the 70th anniversary of her accession in February, she was photographed at Sandringham, smiling and sitting with one of her red boxes.
Buckingham Palace tweeted some pictures of the queen with the boxes.
"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth received Red Boxes, which were made upon her Coronation in 1952, almost every day of her reign, including weekends and holidays, but excluding Christmas Day.
Despatch boxes (not red) originally were used by members of Parliament to carry documents into the House of Commons. Two of these are used as lecterns, permanently installed in the chamber on the central table on each side. Ministers and members deliver remarks standing at their side's despatch box.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: King Charles III: See new photo of monarch at work with King's Red Box