People have wondered for years and years what Queen Elizabeth II carries in that handbag she always carries….
But a royal biographer has disclosed that buried alongside everyday items such as a mirror and lipstick, is always a crisply folded £5 note to donate to the church collection on Sundays.
Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind The Throne, claims that among the bag’s other secrets are a portable hook, which is used to hang it discreetly under tables.
The 85-year-old monarch’s church donation sometimes increases to £10 but apparently that is as generous a donation as she chooses to make.
Bedell Smith suggests that there is “no more familiar symbol” of the Queen than the classic Launer handbag that dangles from her left arm on public occasions from informal walkabouts to state dinners.
Her inside knowledge has been pieced together from anecdotes of those who claim to have snuck a peek inside the royal bag and ladies in waiting.
Bedell Smith, writing in The Lady magazine, disclosed that the handbag usually contains reading glasses, mint lozenges and a fountain pen, although rarely cash, except for the “precisely folded” £5 or £10 note on Sundays.
A dinner guest at the Berkshire home of Jean Wills, the Queen’s cousin, is said to have been surprised to see the Queen spitting into a plastic suction cup before attaching the hook under the table.
“I watched the Queen open her handbag and remove a white suction cup and discreetly spit into it,” the guest is quoted as saying.
“The Queen then attached the cup to the underside of the table. The cup had a hook on it, and she attached her handbag to it.”
Bedell Smith alleges that the most important items in the Queen’s bag are a small mirror and lipstick which she has been known to apply whilst still sitting at the table.
“At the end of a luncheon or a dinner, even a banquet set with silver gilt and antique porcelain, she has the somewhat outré habit of opening her bag, pulling out a compact and reapplying her lipstick,” she writes.
“When First Lady Laura Bush made a similar cosmetic fix during a Washington ladies’ luncheon, she cheerily commented, ‘The Queen told me it was all right to do it.’”
The biographer claims that ladies-in-waiting are responsible for carrying necessities such as extra pairs of gloves, needles, thread and safety pins for emergency repairs