On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Queen Elizabeth unveiled a new portrait of herself for the world to see. However, it was hardly the British monarch that fans took notice of in the pic. Instead, her handbag totally stole the show! The 92-year-old debuted the Ben Sullivan painting at the Royal Air Force Club for the organization’s 100th anniversary.
And while she looked lovely in the photo sitting in a light blue dress and pearls in the drawing room at Windsor Castle, her black Launer London handbag on the floor next to her grabbed everyone’s attention. Her handbag never leaves her side, and it rarely makes it into her portraits (aside from her 90th birthday portrait, of course!).
The Queen unveils a new portrait that was commissioned to celebrate 100 years of @TheRAFClub. Started in February 2018 and set in the White Drawing Room of Windsor Castle, the portrait was painted by Benjamin Sullivan – who won the BP Portrait Award in 2017. pic.twitter.com/4ZkETFJrPD
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) October 17, 2018
“I think the idea was to capture something of the role of the monarch, but one tries to get behind that to the person,” Sullivan said after the portrait was revealed. “And I really like the idea her handbag was placed in front of the gilt chair. It was almost happenstance that it was placed there but it gives some idea there’s actually a person as well as a figurehead — it’s personal. It’s where she put it, and I thought I could take it out,” he continued, “but then I thought—actually it’s quite a nice thing, a personal thing.”
The Queen has reportedly owned more than 200 Launer handbags since 1968 (impressive!). Perhaps because she stores her belongings in them — and she also sends secret messages with them! “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 once revealed to People as he explained that the gesture means that she wants her staff to usher her away. Placing her bag — which is said to have long handles in order to make it easier to shake hands with others — on the floor sends this message as well. If she sits the bag on the dinner table, she’s signaling that she wants the event to be wrapped up in five minutes. So interesting!
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