New red Despatch Box cypher is fit for a king and his daily business
The die, made by luxury London leather goods company Barrow Hepburn & Gale, which also manufactures the boxes, is first made on a machine that has to run overnight to create the cypher’s intricate details.
The die is then hand-finished and hand-polished before it can be used to apply the gold leaf emboss of Charles’s cypher.
The brass die of the cypher has to be heated to a high temperature before an imprint of the cypher is applied to each of the boxes.
It will feature extensively on UK Government Despatch boxes and other official items made by Barrow Hepburn & Gale.
The King’s famous red boxes contain a range of important papers, including those that require a signature, briefing documents and information about forthcoming meetings.
Their price is never released by Barrow Hepburn & Gale.
The King is expected to receive up to a dozen or so boxes over a period of several months.
The company says on its website that its boxes “follow their holder 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.
“Our Despatch boxes are not only an elegant design, but are functional and secure.”
The Queen received red boxes every day of her reign, including weekends, but not on Christmas Day and in 2015 was still using boxes h were made for her Coronation in 1953.
The post said they had been “periodically refurbished” to keep them in a good condition.
Bermondsey-based Barrow Hepburn & Gale said the role of boxes in the governance process “has not changed for over a century”.
It added: “There are two possible reasons why the despatch box became the iconic red colour.
“The widely-accepted reason relates to Prince Albert, Consort to Queen Victoria, who is said to have preferred the colour 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 it was seen as an official communication from the Queen, and so the colour red became the official colour of the state.”
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