For most women, a handbag is an outdoors accessory. You get ready to go out, put your purse, phone, lippy and other essential items into your bag and head out. Her Majesty the Queen has a somewhat different view of her handbag, however, and that was demonstrated on Wednesday when she welcomed new Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Buckingham Palace for a private meeting. The official photograph of the occasion shows the monarch shaking Boris' hand, with her trademark Launer handbag firmly over her left arm. What could the Queen have needed her handbag for at that moment? Well, thanks to a little digging, we've discovered exactly why she carries her bag indoors, and it's so endearing.
Speaking to New Idea magazine in 2018, Launer CEO Gerald Bodmer revealed: "She doesn’t feel fully dressed without her handbag. But if the Queen doesn’t like what we’ve made her, she won’t wear it. She definitely knows what she wants."
We love that! The Queen sees her handbag as an integral part of her outfit, whether indoors or outdoors, so carries it wherever she goes. We don't blame her…Buckingham Palace is huge; imagine leaving your bag in one wing then needing something from it and having to trek over to the other wing to get it. It's just not practical, plus it completes her look and ensures she's ready for any guest who may pop through palace doors.
Her Majesty's handbag of choice is the classic, black box shape by Launer. She always carries it on her left arm and it's compact enough not to get in the way when she shakes hands but big enough to hold everything she needs.
Launer owner Gerald, whose company was granted a royal warrant for service to Her Majesty back in 1981, previously told HELLO!: "All bags made for the Queen are bespoke, made of the softest calf leather. The style she has been using most in recent years is the Traviata, a simple shape with short handles and the famous Launer silver twisted rope logo used as a clasp on the front."
So what does the monarch carry in her bag? It's thought it holds her reading glasses, handkerchief, mints, a fountain pen and a portable hook to hang the bag under tables.
Phil Dampier, the author of What's In The Queen's Handbag: And Other Royal Secrets, told HELLO! she also carries treats for her corgis, the occasional crossword puzzle, a diary, camera and a handy penknife. It is believed the bag contains a small mirror, some family photographs and lipstick, too.
"She would feel lost without it," Phil says. "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."
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