Connect
To Top

What should be in The Queen’s handbag?

You know you’ve hit a certain borderline-unwholesome level of obsession when you read – and yes, re-read – books like the page turner, What’s In The Queen’s Handbag (and Other Royal Secrets)? by Phil Dampier, with the kind of attention most people save for breaking news or their grandkid’s school picture. I mean, who cares? Well, I do, and so do you, or you wouldn’t still be reading this. And I guarantee you that anybody to whom you quote that title will immediately ask, (after they’ve finished mocking you) “Well, what IS in her handbag?”

According to insiders, The Queen totes a lipstick and mirror, mints, reading glasses, and a fountain pen, along with some lucky charms her children have given her over the years, and, yes, some family photos. My favourite? The steel S-hook she uses to hang her handbag off the edge of whatever dinner table she’s gracing. Practical, minimal, and probably all you need, if you’ve got a retinue at your heels to lug the other stuff.

There’s also a “crisply folded” (love that) £5 note to donate to the church collection on Sundays. I’ve seen some criticism around this, along the lines of “Really, that’s the best she can do?” – but, honestly, do you want The Queen to be tossing fistfuls of cash into the plate, like Jay-Z up in the club? No, you do not. That would be showy, and vulgar, and totally not acceptable.

My handbag weighs twenty pounds and self-cleans if you unzip it, in the sense that the stuff in it pops out like the troubles of the world poured out of Pandora’s box. So I’m probably not the best person to be giving advice to a savvy traveller like The Queen about what she ought to have in HER handbag. But that’s not going to stop me.

Full disclosure here – I will never be a queen. Of anything. Anywhere. It would require a cataclysm so monumental that I’d basically have to be the last woman standing. Even so, as noted, I carry a bag, and I’ve got some pretty strong ideas about what The Queen ought to have in hers. I understand she’s busy and maybe just hasn’t had a chance to think this through – thus with her comfort in mind, I’m offering the following suggestions.

What should be in The Queen’s Handbag:

1. A regulation stainless steel referee’s whistle could be a lifesaver. Want to get that sluggish reception line moving along at a snappier clip? One good blow on this will send your message loud and clear, and have ’em on the hop.

2. A rubber hand. Now, I know this takes up room in a handbag – not to mention requiring a extra right glove in every colour – but given that she must shake about 200,000 hands a year, think of the wear and tear she’ll save on her own precious digits by discretely slipping a lifelike rubber hand up her sleeve. Imagine the hilarity that will ensue when she’s feeling whimsical, and opts to walk off and leave it in the grip of an unsuspecting victim – the Lord Mayor or whatever. Everyone will have a good laugh, the Lord Mayor will treasure this amazing memento, and it’ll be all over Twitter in a nanosecond. Everyone loves a rubber hand gag. It’s a classic. Better buy a box of them, in case.

3. A chilled flask of a revivifying tonic.

4. Jar of cocktail olives to go with #3.

5. Three makeup pencils – white, blue, and black. Stay with me on this one, people. How many speeches do you, Average Person, listen to a single year? Maybe five, max? And how long do they last? Taken altogether, about five years. Sounds impossible, but it’s true; in fact, it’s been cited as a proof of the Theory of Relativity. Now consider The Queen: How many speeches does she have to suffer through? Few of them, I might add, featuring her own admirable economy of style. It’s enough to drive a person to #3, or at least to a short nap. So, if one of those useful retainers has a steady hand and some artistic flair, let her gently draw upon Her Majesty’s closed eyelids, with afore-mentioned pencils, a pair of bright blue eyes. The Queen can then shut them and bag a few much-needed zees without anyone being the wiser.

I’m hoping someone shows this list to The Queen, or perhaps just discreetly proffers one or two of these items as gifts. The whistle’s a great place to start. And I’ll be watching Twitter for that rubber hand.

Featured photo credit: The Queen In Rome via photopin (License)

  • Martha Nichols

    Very amusing! And well-written.

  • Benária Lisboa de Oliveira

    A Bolsa de Valores com inclusão dos índices sociais culturais e política, coisas do Reino Humano.

  • robert

    Many Americans believe she carries the authorization codes to deploy Britain’s nuclear weapons in her bag. As for the rubber hand, I read she has developed a technique of folding her thumb in to keep people from crushing her hand when she is greeting crowds.

  • Lori C

    Fabulous article!

  • Jason

    I love the whole idea that she carries the hook (and even has been seen spitting onto a suction cupped version that she sticks up under tables too), and puts her lipstick on at the table! Plus that the bag is a signal for when she is finished and bored with something, she moves it the right way and someone comes and collects her- that way they are being rude to whomever she is talking to, and not her by just leaving. And the people about her $5 church money- as you said it would be flashy and generally when she goes to church it is either at an event at one of HER churches The Abbey, St Paul’s, St George’s or HER private Chapel in Windsor Castle, the exceptions being St Mary’s at Sandringham (which she may own as part of the Estate, but i am not entirely sure of that), or Crathie Kirk at Balmoral, all of which (with the exception of the Kirk) as the Head of the Church of England- they are her church’s and she doesn’t have to put ANYTHING into the collection at all, as they all belong to her in that capacity. And Crathie Kirk, which she attends as a member of the Church in Scotland, the royal family, since Queen Victoria have contributed to the building and its upkeep, from a donated stained glass window from Victoria, to other needed projects or beautification wants over the years, which that help when needed is often more important that a steady weekly donation.

  • Ricky

    There’s been a lot of speculation about the royal purse and it’s contents, usually by people who see an opportunity for a joke. They imagine things like an ID card that says “Elizabeth Windsor,” and the keys to Buckingham Palace.

    I read somewhere that a lady-in-waiting to Her Majesty said that she carried a compact, her eyeglasses, and a spare pair of gloves in her bag. Since she does have to shake a lot of hands, it makes sense that she’d carry an extra pair. Some of the people she greets will have sticky or sweaty hands, necessitating a quick change.

    I read in a book that the royal purse is also used as a subtle signal that someone has bored her. When she changes the arm the purse hangs on, an aide is expected to intervene and come up with a polite excuse to rescue Her Majesty.

  • MOramas

    Very good, specially the blue eyes to closeher eyes! I always wondered what was in the bag! Thanks for tellling!!!

More in Opinion and Reviews