Kate would carry ‘dated’ clutch bags as a ‘shield’ – unlike Meghan
15th April 2023

Kate Middleton has a massive clutch bag collection from brands such as Mulberry, Emmy London and Aspinal of London. The late Queen Elizabeth, on the other hand, was a big fan of Launer London handbags who even held a royal warrant. Susie Nelson, the founder of Modes and More, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk to explain why the Princess of Wales favoured clutch bags.

Susie explained: “It is rumoured that Kate chose to carry a clutch bag when she first became a royal to avoid unwanted handshakes.

“Apparently royal protocol states that you don’t reach out your hand to a member of the Royal Family unless they extend theirs first.

“Over time, she realised that a smile to those she doesn’t have time to shake hands with should be sufficient. The late Queen used her handbags (always Launer, and top handle) as a code to her aides, for example changing its position to let them know when it was time to move on.”

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married in 2018, the Duchess of Sussex was frequently seen holding handbags with a top handle.

After this, Kate began carrying handbags much more frequently – even as recently as her royal tour to Boston in December 2022.

Susie explained why this potentially happened: “When Meghan arrived, I do think Kate maybe thought she needed to up her game regarding both clothes and handbags, for a more polished, international look.

“There are royal restrictions and rules, and she can’t shop like an oligarch, nor can she accept gifts from stores, designers or stylists, or wear black during the day apart from at funerals.

“She also needs to consider how the outfit will be received by the outside world not just the fashion press.

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“Her body shape hasn’t changed dramatically since having the three children and she can still wear clothes from years ago, which is great from a sustainability point of view as clothes are made to be cared for and worn more than once.”

Susie analysed why the Princess chose mainly handbags with handles for her trip to America.

She suggested: “I think the move to top handle bags may have several factors: Kate’s growing confidence, she now doesn’t need a clutch bag as a shield.

“A clutch bag is a classic but can appear dated. Top handle bags are more youthful and stylish, plus it is easier to access things out of a top handle handbag.

“Kate doesn’t use a shoulder bag for official duties as they crease clothes and she needs to keep clothes wrinkle-free and can’t risk a strap becoming caught on a brooch or fastening.

“She has sometimes carried cross-body bags, but with the long strap removed. The huge growth in the handbag sector has resulted in an enormous selection of bags for her to choose from.”

Susie explained which of Kate’s bags might be her favourite: “I don’t know if Kate has a favourite bag, they tend to be a reflection of her style.

“Understated, chic and easy to carry, in plain colours with little embellishment enabling her to carry them with a variety of outfits.

“Her bags are sourced from a wide range of suppliers: Aspinal, Hobbs, Mulberry, LK Bennett, Jeager and De Mellier.

“She is thought to have several of the Aspinal of London Midi Mayfair which sells for around £500, and the Mulberry Amberley Satchel at around £900 is thought to be another favourite. Certainly not cheap but not silly money either.”

Susie gave some insight into what the Princess of Wales might carry in her handbag. She claimed: “The bags Kate carries are quite small, and she needs to be able to find things quickly, so she would I think carry only her essentials.

“The essentials thought to be, lip balm, a handkerchief, a compact and a mirror. There is no doubt a lady in waiting to carry other things. The late Queen, whose bags were a little larger, carried a fountain pen, family photos, reading glasses, lipstick and money for church.”

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