Why Princess Diana always wore a clutch bag

It was one of her signature accessories
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  • Diana was the fashion icon of her time. Always flawless, with a unique style, her outfits were legendary.

    From the Catherine Walker fairytale dress that stole the show at Cannes in 1987, to the striking ‘revenge dress’ worn at the Vanity Summer party in 1994, it was always all eyes on Diana.

    But, as those who followed Diana’s fashion story closely will know, as well as the infamous dresses, there was always one accessory that Diana opted for – the clutch bag.

    From boxy and fashion-forward, to embellished and elegant, she had a vast collection. And there was a specific reason for this.

    Fashion designer Anya Hindmarch revealed in an interview with The Telegraph that Diana used these bags as a barrier from the press.

    “She was a very loyal customer and a lot of fun,” Hindmarch recalls.

    “She would come and see us with no bodyguards or any fuss. We used to laugh when we designed what she called her ‘cleavage bags’. Little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars.”

    Diana evening gowns

    Diana frequently wore a clutch with her evening looks /credit: John Stillwell/PA Archive/PA Images

    Anya Hindmarch is known for her influential handbags. She created the “I’m not a plastic bag” tote, which sold out across the globe. The bag, which was encouraged people to take their shopping home in a canvas bag, meant 312 million fewer plastic bags were distributed during the following year.

    It’s a recurrent theme that members of the royal family use accessories to deflect unwanted attention. It’s been reported that the Duchess of Cambridge uses a clutch to avoid a handshake.

    While the Queen’s actions involving her handbag are said to have ‘secret signals’. If the Queen places her handbag on the table at dinner, it apparently means she would like the event to end shortly. A bag on the floor? This means her lady-in-waiting should step in and save her from whatever conversation she’s engaged in.

    With the whole world scrutinising their every move, this seems to us like savvy moves by the royals.

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