Buckingham Palace have shared a new image of the quartet, which was taken the night before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral last month, hours before the four most senior members of the royal family hosted a reception for Heads of State at Buckingham Palace.
The photograph was taken on the Ministers Stairs at Buckinham Palace, in front of portraits of past monarchs. A palace source told the Mail On Sunday newspaper that the picture had been taken to record the “historic moment” privately for the family.
The King, his wife, Camilla, his eldest son, Prince William, and daughter-in-law Catherine, are all wearing black in the photo as they were still in the official period of mourning following the queen’s death on 8 September, but still looked relaxed.
Two weeks ago, a photo of the King working with his famous red box was released for the first time. The reigning monarch receives one of the iconic containers every day apart from Christmas Day, with the boxes containing government documents and Commonwealth papers.
Charles is seen in the image sitting at a gilded desk, reaching toward papers including one tied with a ribbon, while in the background sits a framed black and white photo of his parents.
The images of Charles at work was released on 24 September but had been taken on the 11 September, just days after the queen’s death. Every box has its own coded lock and it is thought they are red as the shade was a favourite of Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria.
British leather firm Barrow Hepburn and Gale had previously confirmed boxes for Charles were in production, with a spokesman for the company saying the king would initially receive more than six boxes which would all carry the new royal cypher.
Others believe the reason stretches back to the late 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I’s representative Francis Throckmorton presented the Spanish ambassador Bernardino de Mendoza with a red briefcase filled with black puddings.
When the Queen reached her record 70 years on the throne earlier this year, Buckingham Palace released a similar image of her sitting with her red box, taken in the saloon of Sandringham House.