Iconic government red boxes get a royal makeover


ith a new monarch, everyday items like stamps and coins change to incorporate the image of King Charles III. But the red boxes used by the King and his ministers will be getting a makeover too.

Barrow, Hepburn and Gale, the company that makes the boxes, tells The Londoner that they are already hard at work on a revamp. Politicians, they say, will be sporting the new boxes “sooner rather than later.”

The basic shape will be unchanged, but the royal cypher on the centre of the boxes will change from “EIIR” to “CIIIR”. The company, established 1760, has praised the new King’s cypher for sticking to “established convention”.

“Our despatch boxes provide long service,” a spokeperson said, “to the extent that many that are in use were made and supplied over 30 years ago.”

The use of government despatch boxes dates back to Elizabeth I’s reign.

Boris’s ex threatens to sue new drama

Petronella Wyatt

/ Getty Images

Was Boris Johnson’s former lover Petronella Wyatt joking when she threatened to sue the producers of This England, the new drama about the ex-PM starring Kenneth Branagh? Petsy has taken umbrage with the show for using her image without permission. “It was just a large photograph of me stuck on a 10ft projector screen,” she rages in The Spectator. “Couldn’t those cheapskates at Sky have got a goddamn actress instead of a Polaroid?’

Labour stairwell scuffle

Word reaches us of an exchange at Italy’s Embassy reception last night that sums up the strange new mood in the Labour Party. In the stairwell, a Keir Starmer-supporting journalist stopped a Tony Blair-loving politician: “So you’re coming around to Keir at last. What took you so long?” Without missing a beat, the Blairite responded: “So you’re coming around to New Labour at last. What took you so long?” Touché.

Selfies with Baz

Baz Luhrmann

/ Dave Benett

ELVIS director Baz Luhrmann, right, appeared on stage for a Gala performance of Moulin Rouge! The Musical with the Teenage Cancer Trust last night. “How about I direct you all as extras?” he said to the crowd. “How about I shoot a scene? For free! That’s my donation to the Trust.” He proceeded to orchestrate a giant selfie. Baz spoke about his journey from Australian youth, when he dreamt of the West End, to his current position as a grandfather of the musical.

Last night in town

LAST night actor Lily James and her old Downton Abbey pal Laura Carmichael were out at our namesake hotel, The Londoner Hotel, on Leicester Square, for the Luminous Fundraising Gala organised by the BFI. The household-name-heavy turnout included Daisy Ridley, Tilda Swinton and David Harewood, all actors. Hollywood’s Rebel Wilson flew in to join them. Over at Annabel’s Caspar Jopling attended the launch of a new mezcal, The Lost Explorer, sans wife Ellie Goulding.

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