How to find a POSH PEN fit for a King!

How to find a POSH PEN fit for a King! Since Charles III expressed distain at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland whilst signing a visitor book FEMAIL has tested five inky alternatives

  • King Charles III complained about a pen at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland whilst signing a visitor book
  • On a visit to a Welsh cathedral on Friday, the King had brought his own pen
  • To save you the risk of an inky accident, FEMAIL has put five pens to the test
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

Who has not vented their frustration after getting on the wrong side of a leaking pen? 

‘Oh God, I hate this,’ said King Charles on Tuesday while signing a visitor’s book at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. ‘Oh look, it’s going everywhere,’ sympathised the Queen Consort. 

The brand of the offending implement has not been revealed but, on a visit to a Welsh cathedral on Friday, it appeared that the King had wisely brought his own pen along, calmly signing the visitors’ book in Llandaff Cathedral before passing his pen and the book to his wife. 

King Charles III complained about a pen at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland whilst signing a visitor book. On a visit to a Welsh cathedral on Friday, the King (pictured) had brought his own pen 

To save you the risk of an inky accident, we put five pens to the test to see which ones have the write stuff for a royal signature…

ELIZABETH’S FAVOURITE 

Parker 51 fountain pen (£79, cultpens.com) 

The late Queen was photographed using a burgundy Parker 51, once hailed as the ‘world’s most wanted’ and ‘a pen from another planet’, thanks to its streamlined silhouette and ‘hooded nib’

The late Queen was photographed using a burgundy Parker 51, once hailed as the ‘world’s most wanted’ and ‘a pen from another planet’, thanks to its streamlined silhouette and ‘hooded nib’. 

Work on the aviation-inspired design was completed in 1939 — the company’s 51st year. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower used the model when he signed an acknowledgement of the German surrender in World War II and Parker has had a royal warrant since 1962. 

The 51 comes in a luxurious presentation box, with one blue and one black cartridge. It is available with either a fine or medium stainless steel nib. The writing is fluid and the ‘precious resin’ body provides a regal edge, though its concealed nib may fool some into thinking you’re using a ballpoint. 

THE WRITING IS UNMISTAKABLE 

Pilot FriXion Erasable Rollerball (£7.99 for two, whsmith.co.uk) 

On Tuesday, cameras did not just record the King’s ink mishap, they also captured his conversation with Camilla — in which she told him he had the date wrong in the visitor’s book. 

That would have been no problem at all if he had been writing his message with a fine-nibbed Pilot FriXion which boasts magical disappearing ink. Somehow the writing doesn’t smudge when your fingers touch it but if you rub the paper with the plastic tip at the end of the refillable barrel, it is perfectly erased, using friction-generated heat. 

The price you pay is a black ink that looks rather anaemic and feels less smooth-flowing compared with its rivals. 

And, be warned, some customers have reported their handwriting disappearing entirely from cards left in a hot car. Probably not one for constitution-defining documents. 

ON HIS MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE 

Cross Tech3+ Refillable Twist-Action Metal Multifunction Ballpoint Pen (£44.99, amazon.co.uk) 

Cross Tech3+ Refillable Twist-Action Metal Multifunction Ballpoint Pen (£44.99, amazon.co.uk)

This writing tool — from 170- year-old U.S. brand Cross — looks more gizmo from James Bond’s Q than something that would be wielded by a member of the Royal Family. 

It comes in a presentation box flimsier than that of the Parker. But twist the polished chrome barrel clockwise and a black ballpoint emerges. 

Keep twisting for a red one, and again for a mechanical pencil — or turn anti-clockwise to abort your writing mission. The top of the pen unscrews to reveal a pencil eraser and can be switched for the enclosed stylus, which is compatible with most touchscreen devices. 

Admittedly, it lacks the finesse of a fountain and the flow of ink on to the paper is not exactly effortless, but your friends will marvel at its ingenuity. And why carry three pens, when one will do the trick? 

EXPENDABLE ELEGANCE 

Pilot V disposable fountain pen (£5.29, ryman.co.uk) 

Eagle-eyed viewers of the Proclamation of the King at the first Accession Council ever televised, at St James’s Palace on Saturday, September 10, spotted fellow signatories — including the Queen Consort, the Prince of Wales and Liz Truss — using a disposable fountain pen. Some were shocked at the choice of Pilot Varsity, or VPen, with one viewer tweeting: ‘Had to check the live feed to believe it.’ 

The very idea of a throwaway product would clash with the new monarch’s long-established environmental principles, but the VPen offers convenience, in that you never have to go near an inkwell or cartridge, and gives you longhand as smooth as silk. It also comes in an array of colours, is lightweight and offers the ease of a Biro with the elegance of a fountain pen. 

WHERE THERE’S A QUILL… 

Manuscript quill pen and ink set (£31.95, libertylondon.com) 

If you want to feel more Charles II than Charles III, invest in a quill kit. It comes with a brass nib mounted on a vivid blue feather, plus a 25ml bottle of black ink,

If you want to feel more Charles II than Charles III, invest in a quill kit. It comes with a brass nib mounted on a vivid blue feather, plus a 25ml bottle of black ink, in which to dip your pen just like the King did at his Proclamation ceremony. 

Writing with it is as scratchy as you would expect, though does give you the chance to perfect your italic and copperplate calligraphy. 

The quill is the least comfortable to hold of the five and the only one that left me with ink-smeared hands and the blotchiest of writing paper. 

Plenty of fun, but certainly not fit for a 21st-century sovereign keen to keep his suit clean 

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