One of the most photographed women in the world, Queen Elizabeth II has a very distinct sense of style and fashion. She is mostly seen wearing a bright dress or skirt, a matching hat, hand gloves, shoes and carrying a black handbag. But do you know why she dresses the way she does?
Google ‘The Queen’s handbag,’ and you’re sure to get The Launer London pop up in your results. The royal is rumoured to have more than 200 bags by the British brand. According to The Telegraph, she prefers the Royale and black patent Traviata styles because of its long handle.
Her bag, however, is not merely a fashion statement. Royal experts believe that her highness uses the bag to get out of uncomfortable situations. If the Queen pops her handbag on the table at dinner, it reportedly means she wants dinner to end in the next five minutes. If it goes on the floor, it apparently indiates that she’s tired of the conversation and wants to be whisked off quickly by her lady-in-waiting. In an interview with People, royal historian Hugo Vickers said, “It would be very worrying if you were talking to the Queen and saw the handbag move from one hand to the other. It would be done very nicely, someone would come along and say, ‘Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you.”
All bright everything
Notably, the British monarch is almost always dressed in vivid shades of yellow, fuchsia, purple, grasshopper green and red. In a documentary, ‘The Queen at 90′, her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, revealed, “She needs to stand out for people to say ‘I saw the Queen’. Don’t forget when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, 10, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the Queen’s hat as she went past.” At 5 feet 3 inches, her Majesty needs to stand out from the crowd, and she uses her wardrobe to do it. Robert Hardman, the Queen’s biographer, even quoted her once as saying, “I can never wear beige because nobody will know who I am.” In an interview with Forbes, the Queen’s dresser, designer and personal advisor, Angela Kelly mentioned that some forbidden colours such as grey are considered too bland to dress her Majesty in.
Under her umbrella
The Queen’s colour coordinated umbrellas are a dream rainy day accessory. Custom made by Fulton, a UK umbrella brand, the handles and the trim on the clear-domed umbrella match her outfit of the day to the T. This is a tradition that has passed on from the Queen Mother, who first contacted Fulton to design tailor-made umbrellas for her outfits.
A bejewelled statement
The Queen is very rarely seen without a string or two of pearls around her neck; it is a royal family tradition to sport the style on a daily basis. “Pearls are traditional for Queens going back one thousand years — there has never been a Queen who didn’t wear pearls,” Leslie Field, the author of The Queen’s Jewels, told People. According to Field, it is the three-strand style that the monarch favours most. “It’s the necklace that she feels is appropriate — she wants to wear pearls every day as her mother and grandmother did before her.” The author confirmed that it was Queen Victoria who started the family tradition, and it was continued by Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. “She (Queen Victoria) gave each of her daughters and granddaughters a pearl every year on their birthday. By the time they came of age at 18, they would have enough pearls for a necklace.”
Her Majesty even uses her jewellery as a statement for something entirely different. According to Grazia, if the Queen is planning on making a quick getaway, she will make the dramatic gesture of spinning her ring, which indicates to her staff that she would like to be moved along.