King Charles Finally Addresses 'Pengate' More Than A Year After It Went Viral

You know the one we mean.
King Charles made a subtle reference to his turbulent relationship with fountain pens in a speech this week.
King Charles made a subtle reference to his turbulent relationship with fountain pens in a speech this week.
NICKY J SIMS via Getty Images

King Charles has finally addressed how, little more than a year ago, he seemed to get very cross over... a pen. Twice. While on camera.

The first incident occurred just two days after he went from heir to King, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

A viral clip showed Charles shooing staff to clear his desk while he signed his accession proclamation.

The monarch seemed particularly perturbed at the sight of an inkwell on the table and gestured for an aide to get rid of it – quickly.

The second incident, from September 13, happened at the signing ceremony of Northern Ireland’s Hillsborough Castle.

The new monarch – who had only been on the throne for six days at this point – could be heard exclaiming in frustration, “I can’t bear this bloody thing”, when a pen started to leak.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that he reportedly chose to take his own fountain pen to Germany for his first state visit as the monarch earlier this year, to avoid repeating the rather uncomfortable moment.

Charles allegedly took this precaution even though the head of protocol in the German president’s office, Kai Baldow, had been very prepared.

According to The Telegraph, Baldow proudly insisted: “Our pen has never failed.”

Charles received both mockery and sympathy for these run-ins with stationery, which it’s worth remembering occurring at a time when he was reeling both from the Queen’s death and his new role as monarch.

But, he embodied the royal mantra of “never explain, never complain” by refusing to acknowledge it – up until this week.

While giving his state of the nation address in the City of London on Thursday, he praised the UK’s reputation for having a strong sense of humour and chose to take a wry dig at himself.

He said: “The British sense of humour is world-renowned.

“It is not what we do. It is who we are.

“Our ability to laugh at ourselves is one of our great national characteristics.”

He then added: “Just as well, you may say, given some of the vicissitudes I have faced with frustratingly failing fountain pens this year!”

Charles smiled at his quip while looking at his notes, as the audience broke out into laughter.

You can watch the moment here:


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