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

Buckingham Palace releases first image of Charles carrying out official government duties

King Charles has been pictured with his red box for the first time.

The image, taken last week, shows the King carrying out official government duties in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace.

Red boxes contain papers from government ministers in the UK and the realms, as well as Commonwealth representatives.

Documents are sent from the private secretary’s office to the King, wherever he is around 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 sitting at a gilded desk and reaches across to important papers, one tied with ribbon, in an open red box beside him.

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 carrying out official government duties for the first time

The Queen (pictured in 2015) received red boxes every day of her reign, including weekends, but not on Christmas Day

The Queen (pictured in 2015) received red boxes every day of her reign, including weekends, but not on Christmas Day

The Royal Family Twitter page today shared pictures of the late Queen with her red box at various points during her reign

The Royal Family Twitter page today shared pictures of the late Queen with her red box at various points during her reign

Previously, luxury British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale confirmed that boxes for Charles were in production.

On September 11, a spokesperson for the firm said the King would initially receive more than six boxes, which would carry the new royal cypher.

It is possible that ten to 12 boxes will be made and delivered in phases over the coming months.

Each box, the price of which has never been released, has its own coded lock and is designed to last for many years.

The company says on its website that its boxes ‘follow their holders around the world, ensuring they can execute the responsibilities of their office’.

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

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

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

British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale said the role of the boxes 'has not changed for over a century'.  Pictured: Princess Elizabeth talking to her father, King George VI whilst he goes through the Royal boxes in a study at Windsor Castle in 1942

British leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale said the role of the boxes ‘has not changed for over a century’. Pictured: Princess Elizabeth talking to her father, King George VI whilst he goes through the Royal boxes in a study at Windsor Castle

‘Our despatch boxes are not only an elegant design, but are functional and secure.’

In September 2015, the royal family Facebook account said the Queen received red boxes every day of her reign, including weekends, but not on Christmas Day.

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 boxes ‘has not 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 would include papers which require a signature, 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 would include papers which require a signature, briefing documents and information about upcoming meetings

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

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

It added: ‘There are two possible reasons why the despatch box became the iconic red color.

‘The widely-accepted reason relates to Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, who is said to have preferred the color 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 color red became the official color of the state.’

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