As the UK and its Commonwealth puts away their bunting and recovers from celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it’s hard to not be impressed by the regent’s longevity and stability, whose reign has covered nearly three-quarters of a century. Being the first British monarch to do so, this deserves acknowledgement, even if one doesn’t consider themselves a monarchist. In fact, Elizabeth II is quite the fascinating character herself, with or without a crown.
Having begun her reign in 1952, Elizabeth has long been known for her dedication to her service as a monarch. Unassuming, reserved, and taking her duties very seriously, Elizabeth has garnered respect throughout her time on the throne. While many now may think of her as a granny-like figure for the Kingdom, one must remember how, during her life, she has witnessed an ever-changing political and social landscape of the 20 and 21st century, all while remaining true to her own principles and those of her subjects.
The celebrations of the Jubilee highlight just how significant the monarchy remains for the United Kingdom. This 70-year celebration was a multiple day event that showed just how much the monarch is respected today. Despite conversations of the relic of a monarchy and the occasional scandal out of Buckingham Palace, it did not seem to deter what seemed like a four-day country-wide block party filled with particular pomp from the Palace itself.
But there’s another facet of the Queen that intrigues us just as much as her long reign – she’s a fountain pen fan, too!
Yes, that’s right. Elizabeth has a long-documented history of having a fountain pen poised in her hand at her desk, waiting to write her next letter. This probably comes as no surprise when one thinks about it: both pens and queens are seen as relics of a bygone era, but have their loyal supporters that remain.
One may think of a queen and wonder what her favorite pen might be. Given the Hollywood interpretation of a regent, one would think it would be all glitz and glamor, full of jewels and gold. In fact, staying true to the modesty of Elizabeth II, it’s quite the opposite. The Queen has a long history of using a Parker 51. This, for some, may come as a surprise but it makes perfect sense when considering the personality of Elizabeth and the history of Parker.
Having grown up in the 1920’s and 30’s, a fountain pen was de rigueur for writing in those days. It would be no surprise that the Queen, at 97-years-old, would still use a writing instrument that she was most familiar with. Further to that, as we at Inkstable know, a fountain pen offers a user the unparalleled writing performance versus, say, a ballpoint. There is also the slightest bit of elevation to the writing experience that one, like a Queen, may enjoy when writing her countless documents throughout her lifetime.
Parker may not be the obvious choice for a monarchy, but it is a good one. An unassuming pen, it’s one that performs well, writes wonderfully, and has a classic shape. It is for this reason that on numerous occasions the Queen has been photographed using a Parker at her desk. In fact, the Queen values Parker so much that she bestowed upon the company a Royal Warrant, which is a very high honor for a company that has supplied a product for the household. It is a sort of stamp of approval by the royals and one of the highest honors that a company can have within the Commonwealth.
Because of this, Parker was the pen supplier for the Royal Household and still maintains strong relationships with the Queen, even though the factories in the UK have been closed for nearly a decade now.
It’s the Parker 51 that shares many of the traits of a public figure such as the Queen. Both have a modest appeal and, through years of use, have a following that understand that unassuming doesn’t always mean useless. Both Parker and Elizabeth have, somehow, remained in the tricky space between being completely anachronistic and somehow totally contemporary and, because of this, remain just as relevant today as they were decades ago.