Charles’s ‘spider letters’: The Guardian falls for the pseudoscience of graphology

    13 May 2015

    The Prince of Wales’s ‘spider letters’ are out today – his letters to government ministers written or annotated in his distinctive spidery hand (see above) have been released under the Freedom of Information Act. Hat tip to James Snell on Twitter for alerting me to this utter garbage from the Guardian’s liveblog:

    What can we tell about Charles’ personality from the small amount of handwritten annotations in the black spider memos?

    Actually, quite a lot, according to the chairman of the British Institute of Graphologists. Charles’ fluid strokes, joined-up words and slight slant to the left reveal interesting things about his personality and how he will approach his kingship.

    Adam Brand told the Guardian that the pressure on the up-and-down strokes is even, meaning Charles has a creative side and a “love of colour”.

    In the introductions to the letters, Charles joins up all the words in his sentences. “He’s very connected, it’s quite unusual to see, it shows he’s a very logical thinker with an excellent brain,” Brand said. The handwriting is “middle zone dominant” which means Charles is “sociable, adaptable and a shrewd operator”.

    Brand points to the slash which makes the dot for one of the “i”s, he said that could be a sign of impatience. “We can see the slight slant to the left means he is driven, he is business like. But the flourish on the “P” of prime minister, what is called ‘gala writing’, has a pool in the middle, he is open minded and empathetic.”

    Perhaps most tellingly however, is the ‘M’ in “minister”. “The first part of the ‘m’ is larger, that means ‘what I want is very important’,” Brand said. “If it was the other way around, it would indicate that he was trying to impress the person you are writing to.”

    I was going to explain why graphology is as scientific as reading tea leaves, and rightly despised by genuine handwriting experts, but I think that extract speaks for itself. The flourish in the middle of the P has a ‘pool in the middle’, meaning Charles is ‘open-minded and empathetic’, Mr Brand informs us, with all the authority of a fortune-teller predicting the advent of a tall, dark stranger.

    Still, it’s kind of fitting that – thanks to the gullible Guardian – the hero to the throne should find himself the victim of the useless pseudoscience of graphology. After all, he believes in homeopathy.