Along with her colorful outfits and corgis by her feet, the late Queen Elizabeth II was also known for her signature handbags, which she carried around with her in public and private. Now, royal historian Hugo Vickers dished how the monarch would simply shift her bags around to send coded clues to her staff — typically when Her Majesty wanted to flee a conversation!

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Queen Elizabeth II long held a love of purses, which photographs from throughout her 70-year reign show.

“If the Queen shifted her bag from one hand to the next, it signaled that she was ready to end her current conversation,” he revealed. “As well as this, if those in the know saw that the Queen had placed her bag on a table, they would be aware that the Queen was ready to leave an event in the next five minutes.”

If staff didn’t catch that gesture with her purse, the longest-reigning monarch in British history would then go for the “nuclear code.”

“Finally, if the Queen started to twist her wedding ring, immediate action was required!” Vickers added. “The twisting of the ring means she wished to exit a conversation without delay.”

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Queen Elizabeth II greeting a Westminster Abbey clergyman at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, April 29, 2011.

Before Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, numerous royal analysts speculated on whether the sovereign’s handbag movements meant something.

“By holding something like her clutch bag, it is perhaps giving her an ‘excuse’ to not extend her hand to everyone,” protocol expert William Hanson told an outlet in 2019. “She can’t shake the hands of everyone she meets – the duchess [now princess] would be there all day!”

Her Majesty was reportedly a stickler for avoiding fashion clashes and took direct steps to ensure her guests did not match her chosen outfits for an event.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie Johnson, once received a note while staying at Balmoral Castle reminding her not to upstage the monarch’s fashion choice.
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Queen Elizabeth II was also well known in her latter reign for her choice of colorful outfits as daywear.

“Ma’am, Her Majesty will be wearing an ice blue cocktail dress for dinner this evening,” the message read.

“Kept this note that was left on my pillow when we stayed at Balmoral. How lucky I feel to have got to meet and speak with her a little. We were so lucky she was our Queen,” Carrie shared on her Instagram.

Carrie and her husband, like every prime minister and their spouse before them, were the guests of Elizabeth II for one weekend of their choosing in either August or September each year. The tradition became known as “the PM’s weekend,” which was either loved (Winston Churchill and John Major) or loathed (Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair) depending on the respective prime minister’s taste.

Boris and his wife seemed to fall into the “loved it” category.