There's a good reason why the royals almost always carry a clutch bag

  • An etiquette expert believes Kate Middleton almost always carries a clutch bag to avoid awkward hand shake situations.
  • Meanwhile, Her Majesty the Queen nearly always carries a handbag with a short strap — and she often holds it with both hands, too.
  • Future royal Meghan Markle, however, seems less fazed by contact with the public.


Senior members of the royal family, like the Duchess of Cambridge, almost always carry a clutch-style handbag — and there's a good theory for why that is:

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Why the royals wear clutches
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Why the royals wear clutches

Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, told Good Housekeeping: "When the Duchess is at an event, she holds her bag in front of her in both hands when shaking hands might be awkward."

"Or she can place it in one hand to have the other free. It never gets tucked under an arm or placed on the ground or table."

If you look back through the photo archive, you'll rarely spot Kate Middleton without a clutch in hand. She's most often photographed holding it with both hands in front of her during public appearances.

Meanwhile, the Queen is a fan of handbags with a short strap, which she can either carry with both hands or hang off her wrist or arm.

Meghan Markle opted for a similar formal style when she attended the Christmas Day church service with the royal family in King's Lynn...

...But last week, during a visit to Edinburgh Castle, she opted for something a little more relaxed, by way of a simple crossbody bag, prompting some observers to suggest she had once again defied royal tradition.

Markle doesn't appear to be fazed by contact with the public, and it was only last week that she made headlines for hugging a charity worker at a separate appearance.

While at Edinburgh Castle, she used her free hands to accept gifts from and interact with well-wishers.

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RELATED: Strict royal rules 

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21 strict royal rules
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21 strict royal rules

THEY MUST ACCEPT ALL GIFTS GRACIOUSLY

While the royal family has to accept every gift that they receive (even if it’s something super lame), it’s up to Queen Elizabeth who gets to keep which gift.

PRINCE PHILIP IS REQUIRED TO WALK BEHIND THE QUEEN

Since their marriage, Her Majesty’s husband must walk a few steps behind her at all times. Who run the world?

THERE’S A STRICT DRESS CODE

Members of the royal family are expected to dress modestly and never overtly casual. (Serious question: Can you imagine a life without sweatpants?) That doesn’t mean that they can’t have some fun, though.

RELATED: BREAKING ROYAL NEWS: KATE MIDDLETON ISN’T ALLOWED TO WEAR NAIL POLISH

THEY CAN’T JUST PROPOSE WILLY-NILLY

According to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, royal descendants must seek the monarch’s approval before proposing. (AhemHarry and Meghan.)

RELATED: THE 9 ROYAL WEDDING TRADITIONS WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE WHEN HARRY AND MEGHAN TIE THE KNOT

TWO HEIRS CANNOT FLY TOGETHER

That’s in case something tragic were to happen. Once Prince George (who is third in line to the throne after Prince Charles and Prince William) turns 12, he will have to fly separately from his dad.

AND THEY ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH AN ALL-BLACK ENSEMBLE

The royal family is nothing if not prepared. A respectable all-black outfit is packed with them on their travels in case of a sudden death and they must attend a funeral.

PDA IS FROWNED UPON

Although there is no formal law that forbids future monarchs from showing affection, Queen Elizabeth II set a precedent that encourages royals to keep their hands to themselves. Which is why you rarely see Prince William and Kate Middleton smooching in public, or even holding hands. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on the other hand, are not under as much pressure to adhere to this protocol.

NO POLITICS ALLOWED

Members of the royal family are not allowed to vote or even publicly express their opinion on political matters.

WHEN THE QUEEN STANDS, SO DO YOU

And don’t even think about sitting until Her Majesty has done so.

BUT THE QUEEN IS NOT ALLOWED TO SIT ON A FOREIGN THRONE

Even if the throne is from the Seven Kingdoms.

THEY LEAVE THE TABLE DISCREETLY

If a royal must use the restroom during a meal, they don’t announce it to the table. Instead, they apparently simply say “Excuse me,” and that’s that. (If only your toddler would do the same.)

YOU MUST ADDRESS ROYALS PROPERLY

This one’s a little confusing. Apparently, when you first meet the queen, you should address her as “Your Majesty” and then “Ma'am.” For other female members of the royal family, you should use “Your Royal Highness,” and then again “Ma'am” in later conversation. For male royals, it's “Your Royal Highness” and then “Sir.” And under no circumstances should you address the queen as “Liz.”

THERE ARE NO AUTOGRAPHS OR SELFIES ALLOWED

So put that selfie stick away.

TIARAS ARE ONLY WORN BY MARRIED WOMEN

No ring? No tiara.

THEY RARELY EAT SHELLFISH

This isn’t a requirement, but a wise rule that many royals, including Queen Elizabeth, adhere to because of the increased likelihood of food poisoning. 

RELATED: YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE DELICIOUS FOODS THE QUEEN FORBIDS FROM THE ROYAL FAMILY’S DIET

CURTSIES ARE ENCOURAGED

While the official website for the British Monarchy says that there are “no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the queen or a member of the Royal Family,” it also states that many people wish to observe the traditional forms. That means a neck bow (from the head only) for men and a small curtsy for women.

WHEN THE QUEEN FINISHES EATING, THEN SO MUST YOU

Dining with royalty? No extra portions for you.

THE QUEEN SIGNALS WHEN A CONVERSATION IS OVER

If you see Her Majesty move her purse from her left arm to her right, then it’s time to stop talking. That apparently signals to her staff that she’s ready to move on.

SIX RAVENS MUST LIVE AT THE TOWER OF LONDON

According to legend, at least six ravens must remain at the giant fortress or else the monarchy will fall. But no one actually believes that, do they? Well, apparently so, since there are indeed seven (one spare) birds living at the Tower currently.

ROYAL WEDDING BOUQUETS CONTAIN MYRTLE

This tradition started with Queen Victoria and continued with the Duchess of Cambridge's marriage in 2011. This pretty flower symbolizes good luck in love and marriage. Aww...

RELATED: 14 OF THE MOST STUNNING ROYAL WEDDING DRESSES OF ALL TIME

THEY’RE NOT ALLOWED TO PLAY MONOPOLY

When the Duke of York was presented with the board game, he revealed that it’s forbidden in the royal household because “it gets too vicious.” Royals—they’re just like us.

RELATED: 8 INTERESTING FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT KATE MIDDLETON’S KIDS

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SEE ALSO: There is a good reason why Kate Middleton didn't wear black to the Baftas

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