Mr Pendlebury took his seat behind the wide walnut desk, picked up his antique fountain pen and filled it from a small silver inkwell, then positioned his round glasses comfortably on his nose. He fancied they made him look like John Lennon in a pinstripe suit. Mr Pendlebury hadn’t shared this thought with anyone, so nobody had disabused him of it.
Each day Mr Pendlebury became Her Majesty. That is, Mr Pendlebury was employed to open all of the mail received by the Royal Household and to decide how best to respond to each piece. Many of the letters were requests for visits, perhaps opening a new youth centre or naming a yacht, so those went straight to Mr Dawson who holds the royal diary. Some of the letters were from various dignitaries so Mrs Denmaster took those and issued the appropriate replies as only one with her years of ambassadorial experience can.
So the day continued, with Mr Pendlebury sorting everything until all of the royal mail was correctly allocated. By noon he always had a small pile left, items that did not fit into any category of official correspondence, and these items were for Mr Pendlebury to deal with personally. Some of his junior staff called them ‘kids and bids’ letters (mainly coming from schoolchildren and older ladies) but not in earshot of Mr Pendlebury. For these were his favourite letters of all.
He took a short break for his lunch, potted meat sandwiches and two cups of weak Earl Grey, then settled down to the task. He read through all of the letters and drew up a list of their contents. Today’s list was this:
Does the Queen like kippers?
Can the Queen knit and does she have any patterns to recommend?
How many corgis has the Queen had and which is her favourite ever?
Does the Queen’s hand get tired when she has to wave for a long time?
What happens if the Queen’s chair gets wet when it rains suddenly?
Mr Pendlebury then checked his list to see whether he had answered those questions before and if he had, he made sure he gave the same reply. The Queen might appear foolish if her favourite dog changed for example or if she suddenly liked kippers having professed dislike previously.
But Mr Pendlebury had never answered a question about wet chairs before, so he took up his antique fountain pen, selected a sheet of heavy watermarked paper and began to construct a reply.
Inspired by “Does the queen do fashion?”