On a recent trip to London I purchased a HELLO! magazine (the UK’s version of our People magazine), where I found a charming picture of Queen Elizabeth with her great-grandchildren. Something in that photo made me take a second glance. Can you find it?
How many of us would take a family photograph with our purse? Perhaps it was a joke. But maybe not. The Queen never seems to go anywhere without her signature patent leather handbag.
Even as a young princess, it seemed Elizabeth had an affinity for handbags.
Precisely what is the difference between a handbag and a purse anyway? For the British, it seems to be an issue of size: The British carry handbags (or simply bags) on their arm or shoulder, and reserve the term ‘purse’ when referring to a smaller wallet that holds money (change purse). Americans use the terms handbag and purse interchangeably. But (hand)’bag’ seems to be the preferred choice for the younger set. (I always just call mine a ‘purse.’) What do you call that accessory you carry all your ‘stuff’ in?
Sending Secret Messages
According to an article by Victoria Ward and Juliet Eysenck, in London’s Daily Telegraph, Queen Elizabeth’s handbag is used as much to send secret signals to staff as it is to carry personal items. “If the Queen places her handbag on the table at dinner, it signals that she wants the event to end in the next five minutes. If she puts her bag on the floor, it shows she’s not enjoying the conversation and wants to be rescued by her lady-in-waiting.”
There are other signals as well: If the queen is on a walk-about and shifts her handbag from her left arm to her right arm, it means that she is ready to move on.
In this rare photo, the Queen is pictured sans handbag. But how will she signal her staff-in-waiting? Perhaps she is lifting her leg, in a sort of dance, to let them know she’s ready to leave.
What does she carry in there? Sally Bedell Smith, author of “Elizabeth: The Queen” writes, ‘… her majesty’s handbag usually contains reading glasses, mint lozenges, and a fountain pen, although rarely cash, except for the “precisely folded” £5 or £10 (note) she puts into the church plate on Sundays.”
Apparently her majesty doesn’t have a passport nor a driver’s license. But, let’s face it, who needs identification when you are The Queen?
Bedell Smith alleges that, “The most important items in the Queen’s bag are: a small mirror and lipstick which she has been known to apply whilst still sitting at the table.”
The Queen prefers the structured style of Launer handbags.
Black remains the Queen’s go-to handbag color. With white coming in at a close second.
Style Question: Why does a black handbag work so well for Queen Elizabeth? Answer: Because the Queen’s natural hair color was black. And black is still a great neutral color for her, even though her hair has turned silver. Remember: the best color handbag to own is one that matches your hair. Brava, your majesty!
Whatever Queen Elizabeth is doing seems to be working. She has had a throng of worldwide followers for over 90 years.
Her style is: Quintessentially Her Own.
One more reason to admire her.
This blog is dedicated to those who endured the terror of Manchester on May 22. May God provide His strength.