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The Queen placed her handbag on side chair during her meeting with George Brandis and what it means

  • Australia’s new High Commissioner to the UK met with the Queen in London 
  • Her Majesty left her handbag on a side chair as she hosted George Brandis
  • Royal historians say the Queen places her handbag to send secret signals to staff

A handbag on a side chair at Buckingham Palace could be a good omen for Australia’s relations with the Queen.

Australia’s new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom George Brandis appeared to impress Her Majesty during his first visit to the Audience Room in London’s grandest landmark.

As the Turnbull Government’s former attorney-general met with the Queen, she placed her trademark, black Launer handbag on a side chair.

A handbag (circled) on a side chair at Buckingham Palace could be a good omen for Australia’s relations with the Queen

Royal historian Hugo Vickers has previously spoken of how the monarch uses her bag to send secret signals to her staff to indicate when she’s ready to move on from a conversation.

However, a bag placed on a chair indicates she is happy to be left alone to chat with a dignatory.

Luckily too for Mr Brandis the Queen didn’t leave her handbag on the floor, which is usually a sign she wants to keep her meeting to just five minutes.

Australia's new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom George Brandis appeared to impress her Majesty during his first visit to the Audience Room in London

Australia’s new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom George Brandis appeared to impress her Majesty during his first visit to the Audience Room in London

 To the left of Mr Brandis was a previously unseen framed picture of Prince Harry with his new wife Meghan Markle

The Queen welcomed the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, during a private audience

 To the left of Mr Brandis was a previously unseen framed picture of Prince Harry with his new wife Meghan Markle

It also may have helped that Alexander Downer’s new replacement as Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK. was an avowed monarchist during his time as a Queensland Liberal National Party senator, unlike his republican boss Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Brandis, a 60-year-old former Queen’s Counsel barrister, was dressed in a morning suit as he greeted Queen Elizabeth II, 92, who was wearing a floral dress.

When the Queen met New Zealand’s Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the same room in April, no handbag had been placed on a side chair.

Also to the left of Mr Brandis was a previously unseen framed picture of Prince Harry with his new wife Meghan Markle.

The Queen’s grandson, who married earlier this month, was dressed in a blue suit as the new Duchess of Sussex wore a fitting dress.

Australia’s head of state had previously displayed in that same spot a military photograph of her only daughter Princess Anne and her husband Timothy Laurence.

SECRETS OF THE QUEEN’S BAG

The monarch has each of her Launer handbags customised with longer handles so they don’t get in the way when shaking hands. 

The Queen wants ease of opening, so that means no shoulder bag or zips.

Her bespoke bags always come with a mirror, a matching purse and a glasses case.

The Queen’s love affair with Launer began when she was sent a bag in 1968 by Sam Launer, and the company was given the Royal Warrant.

Although the black patent model is her favourite, the royal has been experimenting with more bold colours in recent years. 

It’s been said her handbag always contains practical essentials like mints, a handkerchief, and a fountain pen. 

According to Sally Bedell Smith, who wrote Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind the Throne, the royal handbag also contains a portable hook which is used to hang it beneath tables.  

 When the Queen met New Zealand's Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the same room in April, no handbag had been placed on a side chair

 When the Queen met New Zealand’s Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the same room in April, no handbag had been placed on a side chair

 

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