There’s an important reason the Queen always carries a handbag.
The accessory carries a subtle – but fascinating – tell for when the Queen is bored of speaking to someone.
According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, the monarch uses her bag to send secret signals that indicate when she’s ready to move on from a conversation.
Speaking to People in 2011, Vickers claimed that when the Queen shifts her bag from one hand to the other, she is signalling staff that she is ready to end a conversation.
When she places her bag on the table at an event, that means she’s ready to leave.
A brutal blow for anyone speaking to the Queen, but apparently the let down is easy. Vickers said: “It would be done very nicely. Someone would come along and say, ‘Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you.'”
If the conversation is especially painful, however, the 90-year-old monarch will give her wedding ring a discreet twist to indicate she wants out of the conversation. Pronto.
And it’s not just the Queen that has secret cues.
Prince Philip is known to do a sweeping motion when he’s meeting people in a lineup in order to avoid lengthy chats, while Prince Charles tends to end things on a humorous note.
Vickers said: “What they all do is try to find a quick joke to leave it on. Prince Charles has a quick ‘ha ha’ and that enables him to break the conversation.”
Basically, if you ever end up chatting with the royals, pray for no hand movements and little jokes. Then you know you’ve done well.