Come rain or shine, canary skirt suit or Balmoral appropriate tartan, there is one item that never leaves The Queen’s side. It’s antique, leathery, can only be handled by HRH and is most definitely not Prince Philip. It is, of course, her trademark handbag.
However, those who thought said bag was merely a sartorial statement – or a storage facility for one’s afternoon gin – are wrong. According to Thomas Blaikie’s succinctly named 2015 book ‘What A Thing To Say To The Queen: A Collection Of Royal Anecdotes From The House Of Windsor’, there are two main reasons why Elizabeth II is never seen without it.
The first is that it’s a good luck. She may look like a stern mother and terrifying grandmother, but the Queen carries various charms from her children around with her, including family photographs and tiny horses and dog figures.
The second – and perhaps most important – is that she uses it as a signalling device. The Queen’s entourage are well versed in the meaning of several handbag-related gestures. If Her Majesty is seen switching her purse from arm to arm, she is asking them to kill a potentially dull or awkward conversation and move her on to talk to someone else. And if she places it on the table for a second? She wishes to leave in just five minutes.
So look out for that next time HRH is politely conversing with Donald Trump.