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From the golden antique clock on the mantlepiece to the Queen’s upcycled sofa cushions, a newly released snap of King Charles at Balmoral shows little has changed at the castle since his mother’s death last month.
The monarch, who is just under a month into his reign, welcomed Linda Dessau to Balmoral, the royal residence where his mother, Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, passed away last month.
Charles III, who is also King of Australia, wore a grey suit with a burgundy patterned tie and pocket handkerchief, beaming as he stood with his hands behind his back for the photograph in the castle’s library.
He was surrounded by the treasures his mother once adored, including a ship in a bottle. A photograph of the Queen meeting Canadian Governor General Designate Julie Payette in the room in September 2017 shows how little the room has changed since then.
Meanwhile another image of the Queen and Prince Philip in the library from 1977 reveals how much of the furniture has remained in the exact same place for the last 45 years.
From the golden antique clock on the mantlepiece to the Queen’s upcycled sofa cushions, a newly released snap of King Charles at Balmoral shows little has changed at the castle since his mother’s death last month (pictured: 1. New red leather chairs 2. Volumes of books 3. Antique table 4. Ship in a bottle 5. Updated cushions 6.Running figurines 7.Gold clock 8.Open fireplace 9. Cushions in a crown motif fabric that was once used to cover the library sofa, 10. Thermostat )
In the new snap, Charles smiled, standing with his hands behind his back, as he posed for photographs with Ms Dessau in the library at Balmoral on Wednesday morning.
Ms Dessau, who was a family court judge, has been in the role since 2015 when she became the first female governor of the state in south-eastern Australia.
She acts as the monarch’s representative in Victoria, which includes the city of Melbourne.
The King’s meeting with Ms Dessau comes just a few days after he hosted prime minister of The Grenadines, a chain of Caribbean Islands, on Saturday, amid fears the paradise may ditch him as their head of state.
A photograph of the Queen meeting Canadian Governor General Designate Julie Payette in the room in September 2017 shows how little the room has changed since then
Interior designer Benji Lewis noted: ‘There’s a good lot of ambient light going on here, and an understanding of how to make the most of this space.’
‘Whilst there’s a pendant light fitting in the room, using it has been deliberately overlooked in order to make the room feel more welcoming.’
‘There’s an unfussiness to things, whilst the soft furnishings harmonise the lampshades have all been finished in matched cream parchment or fabric shades and the brown furniture is all in the same polished mahogany.’
He added: ‘Comfort is king (ha ha) – the footstool tucked in at the far end of the sofa would imply that during downtime, it’s good to literally put your feet up
‘The velvet pile carpet suggests a kind of no nonsense approach was adopted to the décor of the room; I’d imagine it was installed a long time ago, chosen not only for its practical colour but also for its reliably tough wear.
Frozen in time: A photo of the Queen and Prince Philip inside the same library in 1977. While the layout of the room has changed, much of the furniture appears to have remained the same
‘I’d imagine that whilst once the room had floorboards, laying a fitted carpet in here will have helped not only to soften sound but also minimise breezy draughts
‘Positioning a small rug in front of the hearth is a wise move, excellent for catching embers that bounce out of the fire beyond the hearth itself to prevent the carpet from getting burnt.’
Here FEMAIL reveals an inside glimpse into the King’s cosy library…
1. New red leather chairs
While much of the room has remained the same following the Queen’s death last month, the most significant change has come in the form of the chairs King Charles has in the room
While much of the room has remained the same following the Queen’s death last month, the most significant change has come in the form of the chairs King Charles has in the room.
In a photograph released in 2017, the Queen had two armchairs, believed to have been re-covered and finished in the Queen’s preferred skirted style.
However the King appears to have replaced the green chairs with a nice pair of distinctive red leather armchairs.
The new chairs have been placed in almost the exact same location as the Queen’s original pieces.
It appears to offer a place in the room to relax and recline when not working at the desk, or perhaps a space to take meetings.
2. Volumes of books
Lining the walls are custom-made fitted bookshelves in solid wood, housing hundreds of different volumes – these appear to be unchanged since the Queen’s death
Lining the walls are custom-made fitted bookshelves in solid wood, housing hundreds of different volumes.
Although the entire wall cannot be seen, it appears as though Charles is standing in front of a floor-to-ceiling bookcase.
Similar designs are seen in other royal residences. This one will have been designed and built to fit the space specifically.
While the furniture in the library has been rearranged, some of the books on the custom-made shelves have seemingly remained in the same place over the last 40 years.
A photograph of the Queen and Prince Philip in the library from 1977 reveals how some of the books have remained in the exact same place for the last 40 years.
Among these are Sir William Fraser’s tomes on the history of the chiefs of the Grant clan, which could be seen on the left-hand side of the bookshelf in 1977 and in the same position in 2017 and today.
Benji explained: ‘Books are the dominant feature of the room, they seemingly line every wall from floor to ceiling, but it’s good to see they’re not all stacked in a uniform fashion; on the contrary the fact of some being stacked on their sides indicate that this is a library that gets used for what it is meant, i.e. reading.
‘Clearly when the bookshelves were built, great thought was given to the manner in which the books were showcased; I love the way the shelving has been designed around the height of the books, it makes such good sense rather than huge gaps being designed for books that are far too small.’
3. Antique table
While the Queen’s desk and armchairs appear to have been removed from the room, other pieces of furniture have stayed in almost the exact same location.
Among the pieces which have remained in the same place is a small antique table, placed between the two armchairs in the room.
It appears to be the perfect place to rest a paper, or cup of tea, while chatting with guests.
4. Ship in a bottle
Among the most distinctive pieces in the room is a ship in a bottle, believed to be of the Royal Yacht Britannia. The piece is in the exact same location is was in the 2017 image of the Queen in the room, and is believed to have been among her most prized possessions
Among the most distinctive pieces in the room is a ship in a bottle, believed to be of the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The piece is in the exact same location is was in the 2017 image of the Queen in the room, and is believed to have been among her most prized possessions.
Designed to be the Queen’s floating residence as she travelled the world, Britannia was launched in 1953. It covered more than a million miles on 968 state visits.
Four years ago, Charles reportedly said that the Royal Yacht Britannia had been an important part of representing Britain abroad.
5. Updated cushions
A pair of colourful patterned cushions had been placed on King Charles’ new red chairs in the room and featured a quilting style design
While the room appears to have been designed for the purpose of working, there are still a number of pieces which have made it feel like a homey space.
Among those is a set of comfortable cushions which have been placed on King Charles’ new red chairs in the room.
The pieces feature a multi-coloured patterned design, and appear to be similar in terms of colour and pattern to the pillows on the sofa.
Benji said the area appeared homely, adding: ‘The patchwork cushion is good to suggest that someone might enjoy some downtime fireside home made crafting.’
6. Running figurines
The mantlepiece in the library is one of the areas of the room which has changed very little since the Queen’s death and features a pair of running figure lamps and a gold antique clock
The mantlepiece in the library is one of the areas of the room which has changed very little since the Queen’s death.
It appears to be identical to photographs taken in 2017, when the then-monarch posed for a snap in the room.
The most distinctive pieces on the mantle include a pair of lamps, which show figures standing in different positions.
A pair of them have been placed on either side of the large ornate mirror that hangs above the fireplace.
Benji said: ‘The bronze figure lamps look as if they’ve been finished with 5 amp plugs, with power sockets cleverly positioned either side of the fire surround; a 5 amp circuit is the perfect way to create instant ambient light when you go into a room, because the light fittings will be operable on switches beside the door.
‘Cable management generally has seemingly been well addressed; the lamps in front of the fire have power sockets beside the tables on which they sit to eliminate the trip risk presented by trailing wires
‘Using pairs of things creates a sense of harmony and this has been achieved both with the lamps in front of the fire and the bronze figures on the mantelpiece, as well as the pair of red leather library chairs.’
He added: ‘This is a sturdily traditional space with strong hints to an enjoyment of classicism; the bronze figures holding torches look like they’re based on the Greek god Hermes.’
7. Gold clock
In the centre of the mantelpiece is an ornate gold clock.
While it is not clear if it was in the room in the 1977 photograph of the Queen and Prince Philip in the room, the ornament has certainly been there since 2017.
The mantlepiece appeared identical in the image taken of the Queen at the time. Compared to other mantelpieces in Balmoral, this is relatively uncluttered.
8. Open fireplace
In the photograph taken of the Queen in the library in 2017, an electric heater could be seen in the open fireplace behind her (left). Meanwhile it appears King Charles has removed the electric heater – the fireplace appeared to be completely open behind him (right)
In the photograph taken of the Queen in the library in 2017, an electric heater could be seen in the open fireplace behind her.
In the place of a roaring log fire the hearth at Balmoral was graced with an electric convection heater, of a type available for less than £20 from high street retailers.
Similar heaters have been seen in other rooms inside the castle as far back 1992, which some saw as an indication of how the Queen was keen to keep her housekeeping costs to a minimum.
However it appears King Charles has removed the electric heater – the fireplace appeared to be completely open behind him.
Benji said the room appeared to have been designed with the idea of keeping visitors warm against cooler temperatures.
He explained: ‘The practical question of keeping warm has clearly been given thought, with the upholstered goods all gathered near to the fireplace.’
9. Cushions in a crown motif fabric that was once used to cover the library sofa
Nearby sits a two-seater sofa, covered in a subdued green fabric and finished with traditional skirting. Their white, red and blue cushions appear to feature some sort of crown motif. The fabric was also used to cover a sofa that was previously placed in the same library (left, the sofa, and right, the reworked cushions)
Nearby sits a two-seater sofa, covered in a subdued green fabric and finished with traditional skirting.
Their white, red and blue cushions appear to feature some sort of crown motif. The fabric was also used to cover a sofa that was previously placed in the same library.
It is possible the Queen chose to recover the sofa but keep the cushions, or use the fabric to cover this set.
One distinctively modern addition to the room on the mantlepiece appeared to be a small, thin thermostat (pictured)
One distinctively modern addition to the room on the mantlepiece appeared to be a small, thin thermostat.
It had been placed on the mantlepiece alongside the running figurine lamps and gold antique clock which the Queen so loved.
It is a rare modern sight in the room, which did feature a Samsung TV in 2017 but appears to have now been removed.
Benji said: ‘On the mantel it looks as if there’s a small read out screen for a weather station; as the King is a keen farmer it’d stand to reason that he might wish to know what the local weather forecast is holding.’