Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Butcher pens in date with Queen


Butcher William Lloyd Williams always keeps a pen behind his ear so he can take orders from customers

A butcher from Powys rewrote the rules of etiquette when he met the Queen to receive an honour - by wearing a pen behind his ear.

William Lloyd Williams was collecting an MBE for services to the meat industry with the pen an unlikely accessory to his morning dress.

He said he had called Buckingham Palace beforehand to check it was acceptable.

The popular butcher from Machynlleth, is known for always having a pen ready to take orders, even after hours.

Royle Family star Sue Johnston, who was collecting an OBE, spotted it while they mingled before the ceremony.

Mr Williams said: "She said to me 'Excuse me, but do you know you've got a biro behind your ear?' and I said: 'Yes, I'm a butcher and I thought the Queen might want a turkey for Christmas and I might have to take an order.'

"She liked that, she thought it was hilarious."


Mr Williams asked the Palace's permission before bringing along his pen to avoid causing offence.

"I didn't want to be over-the-top or anything so I rang the Palace and said: 'I always have a pen behind my ear, do you think it would be a problem?', and they said that if I thought it was part of my personality then it would be okay," he said.

William Lloyd Williams
Mr Williams runs a small abbatoir and butcher's shop in Powys

"When I got through the gates my wife said to me: 'Wil, take the pen off', so I did but while I was queuing up to go into the hall I put it back on again.

"The Queen did look and she smiled."

Mr Williams, who runs a small abattoir and butcher's shop in Machynlleth, is an enthusiastic campaigner for local producers.

Rural service

"I was accepting this award on behalf of the old fashioned butcher and as far as I'm concerned the pen is the symbol of your independent local butcher.

"They are closing every week. It is important to keep this rural local service going. It doesn't matter where you live, support your local butcher this Christmas."

Mr Williams, whose business was founded in 1959 by his grandfather, has won a string of awards for his meat and was a finalist in the best local retailer category in BBC Radio 4's Food and Farming Awards.

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