We can all agree that the Queen has impeccable style. Every tailored coat and skirt suit comes with an enviable selection of matching accessories.

But as it turns out, the Queen’s accessories are never just a fashion statement. They also serve a far more important and practical use.

Royal historian Hugo Vickers told People magazine that the monarch uses her handbag to send signals to her staff indicating when she’s ready to end a chat.

If she shifts her bag from one hand to the other, it is a sign that she’s ready to move on from the current conversation.

Meanwhile, if she places her bag on a table, it’s a five-minute warning to her ladies-in-waiting telling them that she’s ready to leave an event.

And if the Queen twists her wedding ring, watch out! It means that she requires an immediate extraction from the conversation.

Trust Her Majesty to have multi-functioning accessories. We are simply in awe...

For official meetings at Buckingham Palace, the Queen also wears a discreet buzzer. This is used to give staff signals to open doors and accompany guests out.

Vickers confirms that staff are very adept at handling the Queen’s requests subtly: “It would be done very nicely. Someone would come along and say, ‘Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you’.”

The Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite designer has also offered an insight into the Queen’s secret signals.

Queen Elizabeth II And The Duchess Of Cambridge Visit King's College London


Whilst meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace, Alice Temperley admitting that she made a string of embarrassing faux-pas. And it includes one moment where she didn’t realise the secret hand signal she was trying to convey…

She revealed that whilst receiving her MBE, she failed to realise that when the Queen squeezes your hand, it’s time to move on.

“I just stood there and chatted.”

It turns out that the Queen isn’t the only royal to use their handbag to manage social situations. Kate has learnt her own tricks of the trade!

The Duchess of Cambridge reportedly holds her clutch bag in front of her with both hands in order to avoid awkward handshakes.

Anna Bailey is the editor of GoodTo. She joined the team in June 2018 but has been a lifestyle writer and online editor for more than 14 years. Career highlights include Lifestyle Editor at ITV.com, Features Editor at MSN UK and Digital Lifestyle Editor for UKTV. Anna has always loved attending weddings and big family occasions. She combined this interest with her passion for interviewing people about the subjects that matter to them most to become a wedding and baby naming celebrant, fully accredited by Humanists UK.