Have you ever noticed how you very rarely see a royal with anything other than a clutch? Well, there's good reason for that! A couple of good reasons, actually—the two biggest of which are detailed in this excellent Cosmopolitan.com piece on the 12 most unexpected royal fashion rules. (Which, tbh, you should read the entire thing, because FASCINATING.)
But for our purposes, let's take a deep dive into the whole clutch thing.
First, the clutch is the perfect boob cover! Princess Diana's handbag designer Anya Hindmarch famously called her clutches "cleavage bags."
"We used to laugh when we designed what she called her 'cleavage bags,' little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars,” the designer said in an interview with the Telegraph.
The second reason is a little more obvious—to avoid shaking a million hands every royal engagement. Kate Middleton can often be seen holding her clutch in front of herself when shaking hands might be a little awkward.
"Or she can place it in one hand to have the other free. It never gets tucked under an arm or placed on the ground or table," Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, said.
It's the perfect excuse! As for what's actually inside the bag, well, probably like nothing? Or maybe some lipstick and breath mints? Or a phone to check in on the kids? Hogwarts early admissions paperwork for George and Charlotte? You know, normal clutch stuff.
One exception to all this? Well, the Queen, of course! The royal matriarch is often seen with her trusty handbag, which she uses to send codes to her entourage.
When she's in conversation and switches her purse to her other hand, it means that she would like to politely wrap it up. "It would be very worrying if you were talking to the Queen and saw the handbag move from one hand to the other," royal historian Hugo Vickers said.
And when she wants to leave dinner but doesn't want to be rude? She simply sets her bag on the table and everyone knows it's time to roll out!
Meghan Markle hasn't gotten the memo yet, but she's not yet a royal, so she doesn't count! Do whatever you want, girl! Roll a suitcase behind you for all they care! Or carry nothing at all, as in the photo below. But after May 19, I expect to see Meghan Markle with clutches coming out the wazoo. Welcome to the royal family!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.