The Secrets of Her Royal Handbag

15th April 2016

When she celebrates her 90th birthday later this month, one thing is certain, our much-loved Monarch will be most elegantly turned out for the occasion, handbag in tow too of course.

Her Majesty is seldom seen without hers, matching every outfit to perfection. Many a writer has speculated about what the Queen carries around with her – certainly no cash, credit cards or car keys. And she doesn’t need a driving licence – she’s the Queen, after all! Yet her handbags are apparently far from empty.

Royal rumour has it that she keeps a collection of little good luck charms inside – including miniature horses and dogs – all gifts from her children. She also carries a few family photos whenever she travels, some mints (don’t we all?) and often a few emergency treats for her beloved Corgis.

Her Majesty also keeps a stash of emergency make up essentials at the ready, housed in the metal make-up case that was presented to her by Prince Philip as a wedding gift. Insiders have also suggested she carries a camera, so as not to miss any special moments worthy of her personal photograph collection.

A rummage through the royal bag might also reveal the little portable hook that Her Majesty has been known to reach for on arrival at dinner. Placing it in on the table’s edge, she’ll suspend her handbag from it to keep it safe and clear of any dust or dirt on the floor. A royally good idea, don’t you think?

But by far the most fascinating trivia about the Queen’s handbag habits we’ve learned is the claim that she uses it as a means of communicating with her staff. A kind of secret code. All very James Bond…

Because the Queen cannot be seen on official business continually giving instructions to her attendants, she’s said to have devised a secret communication tool with this most practical of accessories. Her Majesty’s ‘handbag code’ can communicate everything from a delicate hint to a full-on distress call. One royal writer claimed there are up to 23 different ‘queenly’ handbag gestures. But you need to know what you’re looking for.

When it’s moved from one arm to the other, for example, it’s an indication that the Monarch is not amused. If she’s marooned in a conversation that’s less than satisfactory, this could also be a signal for some sharp-eyed lady-in-waiting to come forward and rescue her. Immediately.

When her bag strap is securely gripped on the left arm (the most common position of all you’ll notice once you start looking), staff can relax in the knowledge that everything is going swimmingly.

If the bag is placed on the tabletop, the coded message to those in the know is that Her Majesty wishes the event to end. About five minutes should do it? And whilst on a meet and greet, she may hold her bag ever-so-slightly to one side to show she intends to move on, at which point a lady-in-waiting may be required to conveniently join the conversation, thus allowing Her Majesty to slip away politely.

But whether you’re heading off to Windsor on April 21st, watching from your living room or are one of the lucky few attending the official event planned from 12th-15th May (all 25,000 tickets for the arena sold out soon after they went on sale last November), look closely to see if you can work out what she’s really thinking.

Watch. The. Handbag.

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