A gold-plated pen-pistol with more than a hint of James Bond about it, once hidden inside the pocket of the Earl Mountabtten of Burma during the mid-20th century, has been bought by the Royal Armouries in Leeds for £13,000.
Coinciding with Indian independence, the ink-turned-bullet holder was presented to its designer and maker, the late Maharaja Hanwant Singh of Marwar-Jodhpur, by Lord Louis in 1948.
© Royal Armouries
“We hope to have it on show to the public in the near future,” said Mark Murray Flutter, the Curator of Firearms at the Armouries, calling the Earl “one of this country’s most charismatic figures.”
“It is pleasing to be able to secure an object for the nation which relates to his ties with India during the last days before independence.”
Murray Flutter’s description of the weapon as an “aesthetically and technically interesting piece” may owe much to its concealed trigger, obscuring a seven-inch, .22 pen pistol.
Lord Louis was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, second cousin to the Queen and the uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as a close friend of Prince Charles. He died in an IRA bomb attack on a boat in Ireland while holidaying in 1979.