Queen Elizabeth II is known for her fashion – she is always immaculately dressed and manages to pull off the brightest of colors. She also perfectly color coordinates her outfits, with not only her dresses and suits matching her coat and hat, but also often her umbrella.
Another accessory she’s known for is her purse, with the public noticing that she always has her purse on her. Think about it – do you remember seeing a picture of the Queen without a handbag? This begs the question, why does the queen always carry a purse?
Where the Queen Goes, the Purse Follows
Non-royals like you and I may think it’s because she might need emergency items. However, she’s surrounded by staff at all times, so it’s unlikely that she would need to carry her own belongings. So, why does the purse follow the Queen everywhere she goes? One reason is pretty simple – according to the CEO Of Launer London, she “doesn’t feel fully dressed without her handbag” – fair enough.
The other reason, however, is much more interesting – the Queen uses her purse to send her staff signals. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, the Queen shifts her purse from one hand to another when she wants to be rescued from a situation. The Queen usually carries her purse on her left arm, so when she changes it to her right arm, staffers know it’s time for them to intervene. According to Vickers, they would say something like “Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you” which would allow the Queen to excuse herself. If this doesn’t work, the Queen has another trick up her sleeve – she simply places her purse on the ground, effectively telling her staff that she wants out.
On other occasions, Her Majesty uses her purse to indicate that she’s ready for an event to end. If she places her purse on the table, her staff know that she wants to leave in five minutes, and they can start preparing for this.
Royals: They’re Just Like Us
In 2019, when the Queen swore in Boris Johnson as Prime Minister at Buckingham Palace, eagle-eyed viewers started wondering why she was carrying a purse inside her home. The “why does the Queen always carry a purse?” question was back in full swing. It turns out that the answer to that is pretty simple – according to royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, the Queen likes to have access to a compact mirror and lipstick. Maybe the Queen is more like us regular folk than we thought. Other things that the Queen likes keeping close are tissues and a comb. Bedell Smith has also mentioned that the Queen’s purse usually contains her reading glasses, some mints, and a fountain pen too.
Phil Dampier, a royal expert, has said that the Queen’s purse also contains dog treats for her corgis, a camera, some family photographs, and even a penknife. If you’re wondering why the Queen would need a penknife, you’ll be surprised to hear that it’s something she has carried since her days as a girl guide.
According to Dampier, the answer to “why does the Queen always carry a purse?” is, “She would feel lost without it. It’s her most valued possession and a valuable tool. The Queen would never go anywhere without her handbag. The only time she might not have it by her side is when she is in a completely relaxed environment, like up at Balmoral.”
We can’t say we blame her – we’re pretty attached to our purses too.
A Clear Favorite
In most pictures, you can see that the Queen has a clear favorite – she’s almost always seen with her Launer London purses, usually the Royale, Bellini, and Traviata styles. According to The Telegraph, she owns 200 of them.
However, these luxury bags cost approximately $2500 each, and may be a little more than you’re willing to spend to get the look. Fortunately, we did some digging and found some similar bags for you. Although you won’t be rocking the same handbag as Her Majesty, you’ll totally get the look – and for a lot less!
Shop the Look
If you’ve finished binging The Crown and can’t get over the Queen’s many iconic fashion looks, here’s your opportunity to look like a royal. These designer bags are in excellent condition and are a fraction of the original cost. More importantly, they’re comparable to the Queen’s favorite handbags!
Burberry Grainy Calfskin House Check Small Banner Tote – Black
Like the Queen’s Launer London bags, this Burberry bag has a top handle and is available in a classic black. Additionally, it has the Burberry check pattern on the side panels and on the inside, which is excellent if you feel like you need to spice up your outfit with a pop of pattern (if not colour).
This purchase is also versatile – although the bag is a tote, it comes with an optional cross-body shoulder strap. This makes it perfect for a number of occasions, both, casual and formal.
Prada Saffiano Lux Parabole Tote – Black
Like the Queen’s favorites, this is also a structured bag with a top handle. However, this too, comes with an optional shoulder strap for versatility. You can dress this bag up or down – whether it’s with a matching outfit like the Queen’s or your everyday jeans and an oversized band tee, this bag suits everything.
Our Final Thoughts on Why the Queen of England Carries a Purse
Now that you have the answer to the question, “why does the Queen always carry a purse”, you, too can act like royalty, just at a more affordable price.