What do the Queen's and Princess Diana's handwriting say about their personalities?
The Queen is one of the world's most prolific letter writers, and now ahead of her Platinum Jubilee, a handwriting expert has analysed her script with surprising results.
Her Majesty not only holds the title for longest-standing monarch, she’s also topped the list for the most cards ever sent, having sent over a million cards to centenarians and couples marking their Diamond Wedding Anniversaries.
Now graphologist and psychotherapist Emma Bache, working with Inkpact, has analysed some of the Queen's writing and says it reveals a hidden sensual side to the monarch.
Bache looked at a letter the Queen wrote in 1960 to President Eisenhower, which gave an insight into the special relationship between the US and UK.
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"The letter itself is of an informal nature but also the writing is speedy and even includes a spelling correction which is a far cry from the more formal style that we are used to seeing in her handwriting," she explains.
"The words have an uneven baseline, showing her relaxed but optimistic mood. The long tall loops on the ‘l’s and ‘h’s reveal a vivid imagination but there are signs of impatience with missing horizontal bars on the letter ‘f’ and incomplete ’t’ bars.
"The choice of pen nib is relatively broad which indicates a hidden sensual side to her nature as well as her love of the outdoors and physical activity. In this informal letter we get a glimpse of Her Majesty with her guard down – a little impatient and far more emotional than the stoic public image she usually portrays."
Princess Diana was also a regular letter-writer, setting aside time each day to write thank you letters.
Bache says that her hand-writing style revealed a stubborn nature as well as a very outgoing and loving side.
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Bache says: "In this thank you letter written shortly before her death we see her characteristic informal and affectionate style of personality.
"The slant of the handwriting is vertical, revealing a more practical side to her personality and a thoughtful ability to plan. Her writing shows many rounded features as well as cradling loops to her ‘g’s and ‘y’s. It is obvious that she was a maternal character and deeply sensitive to the plight of others but her writing also shows her need for love and approval from those around her.
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"Although the overall size of her writing is large there are some large gaps between the words. She was torn between her need for company and her need to retreat to solitude.
"Princess Diana has underlined her signature which is one indication that she liked to have her own way and could be stubborn even though she had many characteristics of an extremely loving and outgoing nature. But overall, Diana’s handwriting very much reflects the public’s view of her – a caring, empathic and outgoing young woman."
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In contrast to the Royal family's commitment to putting pen to paper though, research by Inkpact which helps brands engage customers through handwritten notes – found more than a quarter of Brits (27%) never receive a handwritten card or letter.
Two fifths (41%) believe writing letters and cards is dying out because it's simply not as quick as digital communication.
Yet, our love of handwritten letters remains strong and 79% of us keep the cards, letters and notes we receive as treasured momentos.
“The written word retains the power of intimacy and leaves potential for historians and sociologists to understand the relationships between author and recipient in a way that no other form of communication has ever done,” says Bache.