Barack Obama’s former chief of protocol has revealed the real reason the Queen holds her own handbag, making it “off limits” to anyone else.
Capricia Penavic Marshall found out in 2011, during Obama’s visit to Buckingham Palace, that you just cannot touch the Queen’s handbag.
The Obama staffer, who has worked with high profile families such as the Clintons, learned this after he instinctively offered to hold Her Majesty’s bag.
As Marshall stepped up to hold the purse, a palace official dramatically stopped him and said: “We do not touch the bag.”
The ex-chief of protocol had been used to holding high profile women’s bags at events, and thought it would be no different.
Speaking to People Magazine, recalling the event, he said: “As Her Majesty walked out, I made a comment to my counterpart. I said, ‘Oh, my goodness, Her Majesty has her bag.’ And I made an ever so slight move with my left foot.
“He, with both of his hands, pushed me back against the wall and said, ‘Do not touch the bag’, and I said, ‘Oh, my goodness. I’m so sorry.’
“He goes, ‘We do not touch the bag.’
“And I said, ‘Okay, I apologise. I would never. But do we know what’s in the bag?’ And he said, ‘We don’t know what’s in the bag. But we never touch the bag.”
Marshall later discovered the bag was used as a means of signal to the Queen’s officials.
During events, Her Majesty reportedly uses the prop as a way to subtly send a message to her team.
Marshall said: “If it’s on one part of her arm, it means the meeting is going fine, leave me alone. But if she lowers it, it means, ‘End this now. I want to go.’
“People have speculated that in the bag, she has a cell phone so that she can call and speak to her grandchildren, which I just absolutely adore.”