Surprising Things You Never Knew About the Queen’s Purse, Including Why She Carries It

As the reigning monarch of England, Queen Elizabeth’s staff does everything for her. However, some duties are considered off-limits — and drawing her a bath isn’t one of them. Depending on the occasion, the queen might switch up her colorful wardrobe from time to time, but one thing that is always present (and always the same) is her iconic handbag. That said, if the queen has staff waiting on her hand and foot, why does she choose to carry a purse everywhere? Surely a staff member can handle the task.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales arrive for the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government

The queen uses her handbag to communicate with staff. | Jonathan Brady/AFP/Getty Images

Why does the queen carry a handbag?

As it turns out, the queen uses her purse to send signals to staff. In an interview with People, royal expert Hugo Vickers shared what her handbag really means: To indicate when she’s done with (or wants to leave) a conversation or engagement. Also, the queen’s bag also has the power to end dinner. Rumor has it, if she places her purse on the table, it’s a sign that dinner should finish in five minutes. And, if the handbag is put on the floor, it means she needs to be rescued from her dinner conversation immediately.

In addition to using her handbag as her secret language, the queen also carries some essential items with her — including chocolate cake. Discover what’s in the queen’s purse, ahead.

The queen's purse

The queen always carries the same items in her purse. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Chocolate cake

While it has yet to be confirmed, the queen most-likely keeps a slice of her beloved chocolate cake inside her designer handbag. According to a Recipes Plus interview with royal chef Darren McGrady, the queen never leaves home without a piece of her favorite indulgence. “She’ll take a small slice every day until eventually there is only one tiny piece,” he told the publication.


The queen reportedly loves lipstick and even reapplies it in public. In fact, for her coronation, she designed her own shade — a soft red-blue called “The Balmoral Lipstick.” The custom color was a collaboration with her favorite brand, Clarins and supposedly matched her coronation robes.


The queen might have banned garlic from Buckingham Palace, but that doesn’t guarantee her good breath. To ensure she never has bad breath, the queen keeps mints in her handbag.

Reading glasses

Like most women her age, the queen also keeps a pair of reading glasses in her purse. That way she doesn’t have to ask a member of her staff for reading assistance — though, we’re sure they’d gladly accept the duty.

A small mirror

In addition to lipstick, the queen keeps a small mirror in her purse for touch-ups. However, lipstick is the only thing she has to worry about touching up, as her ladies-in-waiting are in charge of extra tights, gloves, and a small sewing kit for emergencies.

A pen

The queen might not be allowed to sign autographs, but that doesn’t stop her from carrying a pen in her purse at all times.


Think the queen doesn’t need to carry cash? Think again. On Sundays, the queen places a crisp £5 or £10 note in her handbag for her church donation.

A hook

To avoid any communication mishaps, the queen also keeps a portable hook and suction cup in her purse. This allows her to hang her handbag off the table instead of placing it on the floor.

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