Why Do Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Carry Bags in Their Left Hand?

The British royal family has a lot of rules they must follow, but all with good cause. While some of the rules may seem a bit strange to the rest of the world, you only need to dig a little deeper for things to start making sense. For example, not giving an exact birth date for unborn children is because that keeps the child and mother safe from attack when most vulnerable. The “small wave” that has become so famous is because it is both polite (no huge waves) and a royal’s hand won’t tire out too quickly.

Recently, fans have begun noticing that the royal ladies always hold their handbags in their left hand when out in public. But what is the reason behind this? Are there any other royal laws or traditional etiquette used when dealing with the public? Here’s what we know.

Why are bags carried in the left hand?

Royal etiquette expert, Myka Meier, explained that Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton carry their bag in their left hands because it is easier to meet and greet that way. With the bag in the left hand, the right one is free to shake hands. She provided several examples of Princess Diana doing this same thing. All royal ladies are expected to do this, and even Prince Charles participates!

An order to standing and walking

If you ever see Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle at a royal function together, you will notice that Markle always stands just behind her sister-in-law. This is because the royals always stand, walk, or sit in the order of succession. Despite both Middleton and Markle being former commoners, Prince William is ahead of Prince Harry in line to the throne.

Queen Elizabeth will always be at the front. If present, she will be followed by Prince Charles, then Prince William, and finally, Prince Harry. Their significant others find their natural places beside them. Well, not exactly beside them. It is traditional to allow the biological royal to lead by just a step or two.

Never look down

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle | Michael Steele/Getty Images

Royals are never to look down when they are walking – and this includes going up or down stairs. The chin must always be held parallel to the floor, which is considered both polite and practical. With eyes on the ground, a royal will seem impolite as their attention is not on the crowd. It could also be a potential safety hazard, as (believe it or not) there are still enemies to the British royal family. It may not be as serious as a century or more ago, but is still important to be safe.

Always dress appropriately

Although it would be impossible to go into every little detail of the British Royal Family dress code, it goes without saying that all family members must be dressed appropriately whenever in public. They should be modest and well put together. By modest, this means absolutely no cleavage is to show at all.

As for those famous tiaras everybody loves so much… Tiaras are only worn at formal events, and must be positioned at exactly a 45 degree angle. Oh, and only married women are to wear them.

No PDA

While nearly everyone has an opinion on public displays of affection, the British royal family has a very strict rule in place. There is to be absolutely no PDA, save for polite hand holding. The most PDA seen by a British royal couple is a small, appropriate hug and kiss on the cheek when announcing a royal engagement. Even this was not seen until Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton.