Queen Elizabeth II has rarely been seen without one of her signature handbags.
No matter the occasion or the lavishness of her attire, Her Majesty practically always had a matching handbag over her arm.
Not only were her handbags practical fashion statements for the Queen, but, according to various royal experts, they also helped her communicate secret messages to her staff about when she wanted conversations to end.
After all, the Queen has spent a lot of time meeting many famous and important people, so the idea of her tactfully finding ways to extricate herself when she was ready to move on seems to suit Her Majesty just fine. .
On top of that, there had to be a number of security measures in place that her staff would want to implement, making secret purse signals not only polite, but also very practical.
According to author and royal commentator Kristen Meinzer, who shared this information on Newsweek’s The Royal Report podcast, if the Queen swapped her handbag from arm to arm, she was signaling to her ladies-in-waiting that ‘she wanted someone to come and interrupt the conversation.
And if she really wanted to get out of the situation with immediate effect?
Then the queen would place her bag all the way on the floor. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, who leaked handbag-centric secrets to People in 2011, the Queen twirling a ring on her finger would send a similar message.
And according to the Telegraph, if there was a dinner Her Majesty wanted to finish in the next five minutes, she would put her bag on the table.
If she happened to take calls at Buckingham Palace, there was also a handy secret buzzer that the Queen could use to signal that it was time for her guests to leave.
The Queen isn’t the only one who has used her handbag as a handy tool to navigate social events – the Duchess of Cambridge would always have a clutch in front of her with both hands to avoid awkward handshakes.
As for what these iconic handbags were supposed to contain, it was said that the Queen carried a lot of things that one would expect a woman to want on her person.
Although she doesn’t really need things like a wallet or keys, she has already been photographed taking off her glasses and choosing a shade of lipstick for the day.
Clarins was known to be one of her favorite brands, and she wasn’t shy about stocking up on the open – a girl after our hearts.
A royal biographer shared in 2012 that she would also carry a mirror and a £5 or £10 note to donate to the church collection on Sundays.
Sally Bedell Smith, who wrote Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind The Throne, also wanted Her Majesty to carry a portable hook she could use to hang her bag wherever she went.
As for the Queen’s style, she was often seen with a handbag by luxury handbag maker Launer London, of which the Queen is said to have first become a fan in the late 1950s after the queen mother bought him one.
The brand has held the Royal Warrant since 1968, and the Queen has often been seen sporting black and matte patent leather designs over the years, and is said to have owned more than 200 handbags in total.
But even so, Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal dresser and longtime friend, wrote in her book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe the Queen Didn’t Have favorite brand.
Angela also noted that Her Majesty likes her bags to be tailor-made, with longer handles, so they don’t snag on her clothing as she meets and shakes hands with dozens of people.
She also wrote: ‘Weight is very important – considering Her Majesty may have to carry it for some time.
If you want to get your own Launer London bag, know that it is sold at a high price.
As of this writing, Selfridges & Co. has a small selection in stock with prices starting at £1,700.
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How the Queen used secret handbag signals to communicate with staff