Her trusty Launer handbag is as intrinsic to the Queen as crowns and corgis, but it turns out the accessory has a more important use than holding her spectacles on official engagements.
According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, the monarch uses her bag to send secret signals to her staff to indicate when she’s ready to move on from a conversation.
He told People magazine that shifting her bag from one hand to the other is an indication the royal is ready to end a chat, and it’s been said the Queen will place her bag on a table at events to signal that she’s ready to leave.
A third secret signal is a discreet twist of her wedding ring, which the Queen uses to emphasise that she’d like to be moved on from a conversation quickly.
According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, if you see the Queen switching her bag from one hand to the other, it’s a secret signal to her staff that she’s ready to end a conversation
A discreet twist of her wedding ring is said to be a sign the Queen would like to be moved along from a conversation with speed
The Queen, pictured at Ascot in 2016, first started her love of Launer bags in 1968 and is believed to have more than 200
Of the handbag hand switch to summon helpers, Vickers said: ‘Luckily, they’d let you down easy.’
‘It would be done very nicely. Someone would come along and say, “Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you”.
According to Vickers, if the Queen is particularly keen to exit the conversation she will make the more significant gesture of twisting her ring as a sign to staff to intervene.
Also, while taking official meetings at Buckingham Palace she has the use of a discreet buzzer that gives staff the nod to open the doors and accompany the guest out.
It’s previously been revealed that when the Queen places her bag on the table at an event, it’s a five minute warning to her ladies-in-waiting that she’s ready to leave.
The Queen is not the only one who makes her handbag more than just an accessory to complement her outfit.
SECRETS OF THE QUEEN’S BAG
The monarch has each of her Launer handbags customised with longer handles so they don’t get in the way when shaking hands.
The Queen wants ease of opening, so that means no shoulder bag or zips.
Her bespoke bags always come with a mirror, a matching purse and a glasses case.
The Queen’s love affair with Launer began when she was sent a bag in 1968 by Sam Launer, and the company was given the Royal Warrant.
Although the black patent model is her favourite, the royal has been experimenting with more bold colours in recent years.
It’s been said her handbag always contains practical essentials like mints, a handkerchief, and a fountain pen.
According to Sally Bedell Smith, who wrote Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind the Throne, the royal handbag also contains a portable hook which is used to hang it beneath tables.
The Queen, pictured on a visit to Liverpool in June 2016, carrying her black patent Launer bag, which is her favourite model
Switching her bag from one hand to the other sends a subtle signal to her ladies-in-waiting, according to a royal historian .
Recently, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette Myka Meier told Good Housekeeping that the Duchess of Cambridge always carries a clutch bag for a very particular reason.
She revealed that Kate, 35, often ‘holds her bag in front of her in both hands when shaking hands might be awkward’.
Meanwhile, the Queen carries her bag over her left arm so that her right hand is free to greet people.
But what does she keep in there? Each bag comes with a glasses case, mirror and matching purse…