The Queen and Her Royal Red Box: Hard at Work Despite a Cold
While fighting a persistent cold, the Queen continues to fulfill her duties as Head of State. A royal source says she receives her daily red box containing ministerial correspondence. The 90-year-old monarch has been recuperating for the past two weeks in Sandringham.
Queen Elizabeth photographed together with the red box in September 2016.
Inside the red box are policy papers, cabinet documents, telegrams, and pressing documents from the United Kingdom government.
The Queen dutifully worked through the holidays, even though she missed the annual Christmas festivities and was unable to attend the Divine Services at Sandringham. This is the first time in 30 years the Queen missed the annual Christmas morning Church service at St. Mary Magdalene Church. This is also Her Majesty’s first recorded absence from communion.
While the monarchy played a greater role in the British government in the past, the Sovereign today continues to be crucial in the life of the nation despite no longer having executive or political roles. As Head of Nation, the Sovereign acts as a focus for national identity, unity, and pride, as she occupies a seat that symbolizes stability and continuity. As Head of State, the Queen needs to be continually informed of happenings in Parliament and the governments under the Commonwealth, and that information is delivered to her daily in her red box. Apart from that, she also tries to read about 200 to 300 letters from the public archive, attends charitable events, meets with the Prime Minister weekly, and awards excellence or hard work through bestowing medals or through knighting. She also has the help of the immediate members of the royal family for all these tasks.
A statement from Princess Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, insists that her mother is "on the mend" and is feeling "better," although understandably unwell enough to battle the outside elements. The Queen has been down with a cold since at least a week before Christmas, but has continued to accept the duties that come with the red box every day since.
Get well soon, Your Majesty.