British Monarchy Dead, Slain By Pen
King Charles III has been sovereign for about a week, and it’s officially a disaster. I know he’s going through a lot. His mother just died and all, and no one’s all that excited he’s king because he’s famously whiny and weird. Still, this week was his best chance to shine and instead he was defeated by a pen.
The fateful incident occurred early this week when Charles was signing a visitor’s book in front of cameras at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. Signing your name is hardly challenging work. Guests at Comic-Con do it all day and they also appear in movies and TV shows. They lead full lives. Charles didn’t even bother playing himself on The Crown.
So, Charles (you’ll notice I’m not calling him “the King”) was stuck with a bum pen that leaked all over him. He gallantly handed the defective pen to his wife, Camilla (definitely not calling her “Queen”). This is like tasting milk that’s obviously spoiled and asking your wife to take a sip just to be sure. Spoiled milk and leaky pens don’t need second opinions.
Charles exhibited zero chill with the pen. He cried, “Oh god I hate this!” while Camilla observed, “Oh look it’s going everywhere.” (My wife and I have had similar pen-related discussions, but I’m not the king of England.) While Camilla fought the pen monster, Charles continued whining, “I can’t bear this bloody thing … every stinking time.” Yes, this is apparently a lifelong dilemma for Charles. Then he walked away without offering his second wife a handkerchief or anything. What a prince.
The full spectacle is below.
Before the pen soiled his hands, which I doubt he even washes himself, Charles struggled with the date. He wrote September 12 when it was actually September 13. He’s obviously overwhelmed from his new, more strenuous duties. Fortunately, he has aides to help him remember what day of the week it is. The Queen had clever tricks for recalling specific details about the people she met. Charles just needs to look at his phone.
I can’t recall any instances of pens leaking on the Queen. She’d fully conquered writing utensils. Now, she’s dead, and pens obviously feel emboldened to leak across the United Kingdom.
His Royal Nemesis The Pen also stymied Charles at his ascension ceremony last Saturday. He was just about to sign the Accession Proclamation, which would officially make him the “Joey” to his late mother’s “Friends,” when he encountered a pen box and an inkwell on the desk, staring him down. The offending objects were reportedly gifts from Kate and Meghan’s husbands but Charles had no time for sentiment! He formally banished the pen box and inkwell from his sight.
Take a look at this epic clash of wills.
Just a moment or so earlier, when reflecting on the Queen’s death, Charles told those assembled, “My mother’s reign was unequaled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve, we give thanks for this most faithful life … I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me.”
Apparently, moving pen boxes and inkwells or just writing around them was too great a burden for the new monarch. Obviously, I doubt the Queen performed much heavy lifting when she was Charles’ age, and why bother even becoming a king if you have to cart around your own office supplies. But the way he gestured to an unseen aide to remove the items was just pathetic. He pushed the pen box slightly with this constipated look on his face. You’d think he’d have more subtle ways of expressing his commands, like badass Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Patrick Stewart would’ve made a great king. He’d definitely know how to keep his pens in check. Charles is hopeless. So ends the British monarchy.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."