Though there are many mysteries surrounding Her Majesty The Queen, one for which an insatiable appetite endures is just what the most recognisable woman in the world carries in her ever-present handbag.
The Queen is a noted connoisseur of handbags and is rarely seen without one, even famously using it to send silent signals to those around her to keep things moving and to avoid ruffled feathers in difficult situations. It’s believed she holds around 200 bags in her collection and though rumours and whispers over the years the exact contents have been revealed.
A look at what the experts claim The Queen can’t live without:
1. A Five or Ten Pound Note
With an army of professional staff you wouldn’t expect The Queen to need to cover the bill – and you’d be right! The cash Her Majesty keeps on hand is for the Church collection.
2. Lozenges, reading glasses and a fountain pen
With The Queen meeting hundreds of thousands of people every year it’s no surprise that she would be ready with fresh breath! The glasses and pen are also essentials for speeches and signing guest books that people and patronages will treasure for years to come.
3. Camera and/or phone
Though rarely seen, The Queen does keep these now-essential electronics on hand and has been known to use them to ‘take pictures of visiting presidents and other VIPs’ according to royal writer Phil Dampier. The phone also comes in handy for keeping in touch with her busy and jet-setting family.
4. Sweetener for her coffee
This insider tip comes from an unlikely source – manager of Hull City football team Phil Brown. Brown sat next to The Queen at a Hull Guildhall luncheon and managed to sneak a peek inside and see the sweetener, which she proceeded to use in her coffee.
5. Mirror and lipstick
The Queen’s favourite shade is said to be one by Clarins and she’s been known to reapply as needed after a banquet or dinner. Former First Lady Laura Bush recalled a moment during a Washington ladies’ luncheon in which she, herself, needed to touch up her lipstick but wasn’t sure of protocol until getting the royal go-ahead. ‘The Queen told me it was all right to do it.’
6. A portable hook for the bag itself
In the book Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind the Throne author Sally Bedell Smith claims that The Queen brings a hook which allows her to discretely hang her bag from any table, keeping it off the floor and close at hand. A genius idea and a unique me memory for those who have had the fortune to see Britain’s Queen spit into a plastic suction cup in order to attach the hook to a table.
The bag has also come to the rescue at times, acting as a discreet bin. One notable example was during a US State Visit in 1983 from former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. At the meal’s end they all received fortune cookies and after reading her fortune The Queen showed Prince Philip and then tucked it into her handbag. It wouldn’t have done to leave it on the table!
Though it’s not a lot compared to some handbags it’s the essentials The Queen needs. Thankfully she has a few ladies-in-waiting on hand to carry anything more heavy duty.