The real reason Queen Elizabeth carries a purse all the time

Queen Elizabeth II certainly knows how to accessorize. You’d be hard-pressed to find a picture of Her Majesty without one of her signature Launer handbags. She reportedly owns more than 200 of them!

But just as the Queen has a few fascinating secrets about herself, there’s more to these purses than meets the eye. In a fashion that echoes the suave subtlety of James Bond, Queen Elizabeth uses her purse to send secret messages to her staff. (This is the real reason Queen Elizabeth II wears neon outfits all the time.)

These signals help her get out of conversations at any time she pleases. If the Queen moves her classic handbag from its normal spot on her left arm to her right arm while she’s talking with someone, her handlers know that she wants to wrap it up. Putting her bag on the floor is a sign that she needs to be saved from an uncomfortable encounter ASAP. If she’s at dinner and places it on the table, that means she wants to end the event in the next five minutes. (Find out which 8 words you’ll never hear the royal family say.)

Let’s just hope Her Majesty doesn’t send any of these signals if we happen to converse with her.

As for what the Queen keeps in her bag, royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith says the items aren’t all that different from what normal women carry with them: a mirror, lipstick, mint lozenges, and reading glasses. That just proves Her Majesty knows how to be practical and fashionable.

Next up, check out these 8 fascinating facts—and a few scandals!—about Queen Elizabeth II.

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