Getting out of a car in an elegant fashion while the cameras of the world’s media are trained on you is no mean feat.
And now it’s been revealed that Princess Diana used a secret weapon to ensure the paparazzi wouldn’t get any unflattering shots of her as she stepped out of a vehicle – and it was all down to how she wielded her trusty clutch bag.
Anya Hindmarch who was one of the late royal’s go-to designers for accessories revealed the princess used to call them her ‘cleavage bags’ as she’d used them to preserve her modesty as she stooped over while exiting a car.
The handbag queen made the revelation in an interview with The Telegraph, which has recently resurfaced online, saying: ‘She was a very loyal customer and a lot of fun.
‘She would come and see us with no bodyguards or any fuss. 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.’
Diana was by no means the first royal to harness the power of the humble handbag.
The Duchess of Cambridge is rarely seen carrying anything other than a clutch on her public appearances and also uses the accessory in a protective fashion.
Kate, 35, often carries her clutch in front of her with both hands during official engagements.
Etiquette experts have suggested she does it to avoid situations where shaking hands might be awkward and to get out of spending endless time greeting people when she needs to move on swiftly.
Kate and Diana may both have taken notes from the Queen, who is also said to use her trusty Launer handbag for more than just carrying her glasses case.
According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, the monarch uses her bag to send secret signals to her staff to indicate when she’s ready to move on from a conversation.
He told People magazine that shifting her bag from one hand to the other is an indication the Royal is ready to end a chat, and it’s been said the Queen will place her bag on a table at events to signal that she’s ready to leave.
A third secret signal is a discreet twist of her wedding ring, which the Queen uses to emphasize that she’d like to be moved on from a conversation quickly.
Of the handbag hand switch to summon helpers, Vickers said: ‘Luckily, they’d let you down easy.’
‘It would be done very nicely. Someone would come along and say, “Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you”.