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King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla attend church at Crathie Kirk after returning to Balmoral

The King and Queen Consort were spotted out and about for the first time since Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral as they drove near the Balmoral Estate this afternoon.

King Charles, 73, returned to the Aberdeenshire estate five days ago for the first time since his mother passed away peacefully at Balmoral Castle on 8 September at the age of 96.

Driving into the estate with Queen Consort Camilla this morning, the King, who is still dressed in black while the Royal Family observes a period of mourning, looked serious.

The King and Queen Consort have been spotted in public for the first time since the Queen’s funeral as they attend church at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral

The Queen Consort, 75, maintained a largely black outfit while the Royal Family observes a period of mourning, but she appeared to be wearing a tartan skirt

The Queen Consort, 75, maintained a largely black outfit while the Royal Family observes a period of mourning, but she appeared to be wearing a tartan skirt

The royal couple are attending a service at Crathie Kirk, a small parish church in the Scottish village of Crathie, near the Estate.

It is where the Royal Family always goes to church when they are staying at Balmoral, suggesting the King and Queen Consort are in residence there at the moment. 

King Charles’s first public appearance since the state funeral of his late mother Queen Elizabeth II on Monday follows an official portrait of the monarch hard at work which was released by the Royal Family on Friday evening.

The portrait, which was taken last week, shows the King sitting in the 18th Century Room of Buckingham Palace while he reviews documents from the red box.

In the photo there were a few subtle nods to his late mother and father, the late Duke of Edinburgh, which showed how the monarch will remember their influence when carrying out his royal duties. 

The King was pictured wearing a black three-piece suit and a black and white checked pocket square, with a black tie, as he left church

The King was pictured wearing a black three-piece suit and a black and white checked pocket square, with a black tie, as he left church

Queen Consort Camilla looked poised as she left the service at Crathie Kirk, where the Royal Family worships when they are in residence at Balmoral

Queen Consort Camilla looked poised as she left the service at Crathie Kirk, where the Royal Family worships when they are in residence at Balmoral

The King and Queen Consort managed to smile politely as they left the church, while their period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II continues

The King and Queen Consort managed to smile politely as they left the church, while their period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II continues

The King and Queen Consort appeared serious as they headed to Sunday Service at church in Aberdeenshire, on their first visit to the Balmoral Estate since the Queen's death

The King and Queen Consort appeared serious as they headed to Sunday Service at church in Aberdeenshire, on their first visit to the Balmoral Estate since the Queen’s death

The King appeared in public for the first time since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was interred at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor

The King appeared in public for the first time since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was interred at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor

The King has been hard at work since the passing of his mother, but has remained relatively quiet over the last week as the Royal Family mourns privately

The King has been hard at work since the passing of his mother, but has remained relatively quiet over the last week as the Royal Family mourns privately

The King's Range Rover drove into Crathie Kirk church, where they attend Sunday Service when at residence on the Balmoral Estate

The King’s Range Rover drove into Crathie Kirk church, where they attend Sunday Service when at residence on the Balmoral Estate

Most striking was the black-and-white photo of the Queen and Prince Philip which sat on the side table behind the King’s desk while he worked on reviewing documents from his red box.

According to the Royal Family’s Instagram account, which published the photo of the King hard at work, the photo of the monarch’s late parents, was a gift from them to King George VI in 1951 at Christmas.

The photo of the Queen and Prince Philip is not the first tribute of its kind from the King, 73, after he addressed the nation for the first time on Friday 9 September from the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, where some of Her late Majesty’s Christmas speeches had been filmed, with a photo of Her late Majesty on the desk next to him.

During the address, he also told the nation how he will draw upon his mother’s example during his own reign.

The King said: ‘Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen – my beloved Mother – was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example.

‘Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.’ 

King Charles III was hard at work as he reviewed official documents from his red box during his first days as the monarch following the death of his mother (Pictured in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace)

King Charles III was hard at work as he reviewed official documents from his red box during his first days as the monarch following the death of his mother (Pictured in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace)

Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (pictured with the red box at Sandringham in February 2022) began every single day reviewing documents from the red box, apart from Christmas Day

Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (pictured with the red box at Sandringham in February 2022) began every single day reviewing documents from the red box, apart from Christmas Day

Royal fans may also have noticed a tribute to King Charles’s mother in the bouquet of flowers sitting behind the red box in the new photo.

The display of blue and lilac petals appears to include sprigs of delphinium, a flower that holds several meanings. Primarily, delphinium is recognised as a sign of encouragement, joy and hope.

However, it also holds a more poignant symbolism for people who are grieving – in that it is often used to commemorate the lives of loved ones who have recently passed away.

Many royal fans may argue the photo itself is a tribute to the King’s late mother, who was often pictured reviewing documents from the red box.

The Royal Family’s official Instagram account wrote: ‘The Red Box contains papers from government ministers in the UK and the Realms and from representatives from the Commonwealth and beyond. 

‘The documents are sent from the Private Secretary’s Office to The King, wherever he may be in residence, in a locked red despatch box.

‘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.’

In almost every photo of Her late Majesty reviewing the documents, she is pictured candidly as she carefully reads through the briefing. 

However 2022, which marked Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee year, saw a change in the late monarch’s red box photo. Taken at the Sandringham Estate in February, the Queen is pictured smiling into the camera next to the Red Box, and wearing a light green outfit.

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