A Right Royal Pen Frustration

I saw poor Prince Charles’s (as he was then) difficulties with signing. The first problem he had was with a silly little desk, not big enough to allow comfortable use of his pen. I believe that was a silver Montblanc and there was no problem with the pen.

The later incident was about a pen that leaked – profusely. I heard the words, “It’s everywhere.” That episode was quite remarkable, I think. I know that fountain pens are often accused of being leaky but I have rarely seen one that leaked at all and I have never seen one that sprayed ink as appears to have happened on this occasion. I think the Prince, now King, is very poorly served.

My husband remembers the very cheap school pens he had in the fifties and some of them could make a fine job of leaking but those pens were rubbish. I’m quite sure that the monarch is not supplied with rubbish. Properly serviced and set up fountain pens do not leak at all. The ink only appears on the paper in the manner it is intended to.

The leaking could be explained by something as simple as a badly fitted cartridge. The pen might even have been broken in a more serious way. The trouble is that people are not familiar with fountain pens today. I would go a little further and say that the desk incident suggests that some, at least, of those around the King are a little lacking in common sense.

There is a simple answer to this problem. A training course in the welfare and health of fountain pens might be a little beyond the average courtier but they might manage to send the royal pens to Eric Wilson for servicing and if they need replacements, come to Goodwriters Pens. I will be happy to supply pens that do not leak.


11 thoughts on “A Right Royal Pen Frustration

  1. The whole incident was both odd and comical. I can’t imagine why it leaked so badly? Nevertheless, I have to say that, to me, the King’s reaction was rather humorously endearing. Who amongst us wants to presented with a thing that spouts ink all over a smart suit?

    I think the Royals are frequently asked to sign various guest books and presumably somebody in the welcoming body is sent down to the local W.H. Smith’s to buy a fountain pen for the purpose. The person given this task probably doesn’t use fountain pens regularly, and therefore picks the cheapest pen in a plastic packet hanging off a hook. The prices of half-decent fountain pens, like the Parker Sonnet or Waterman Expert, tend to be excessively high in Smith’s and there are virtually no other shops selling fountain pens on the modern high street. Consequently, the Royal guest is then presented with a pretty crumby (often Chinese) fountain pen that fails to live up to expectations. It would be great to find out the brand of the “stinking” pen in question!

    Over the years I spotted the late Queen signing similar visitors books using various cheapo fountain pens. I cannot imagine that she would have chosen a Parker IM or a Lamy Safari for herself. Of course, I could always be wrong.

  2. Not everyone holds pens in the high regard that they should be. Never a truer phrase than “the pen is mightier than the sword”. I mentioned earlier about servicing a pen the Queen had used. A cheap nasty ballpoint had been left out for her to use, my customer swapped it for her Montblanc, albeit only a MB144 🙂 Possibly the person leaving the pen for Charles to use, just thought “Oh, a fountain pen , that’s posh” without testing it for use first ?

  3. Charles used a pen he took out of his pocket if I remember correctly – the pens that were left in the holder on the table were V-pens. I remember being surprised that these disposable fountain pens were being used. But then, I’ve never had a V-pen fail me. 😀

      1. I would like to see a recording of what happened. because I saw someone dip
        a fountain pen into the ink will. The King had the pens removed and used his own.

  4. The king has an advantage over a queen in that he (always? or is it just nearly always?) wears a suit to public functions. Thus he has a suit coat, or at the very least a sports jacket, with an inside pocket for his own personal fountain pen.

    And no, if I were in his position I’d never let an equerry, valet, or any other servant handle the pen, refill it, or park it for the night.

    I suspect royalty has rather less personal control over daily matters than most of us do, but this is one matter on which, were I the king, I’d be adamant. After all, an undelegatable part of his job is to make sure all documents requiring his personal signature are signed in proper form. So be it.

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