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What’s In Your Bag, Ma’am

What’s in your bag, Ma’am Other than the chocolate, the plasters and the gin: Secrets and techniques of the Queen Mom’s handbag

By Petronella Wyatt.

Printed: 21:15 EST, 1 September 2012 | Up to date: 13:18 EST, 2 September 2012



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For males, a handbag is a thing apart, for ladies ’tis their whole existence, to misquote Byron and to echo the sentiments of Judge Zoe Smith, who informed a handbag thief at Studying Crown Courtroom last week that stealing a woman’s bag ‘is not simply inconvenience, it causes worry as nicely.

Her cellphone is taken, her playing cards, her cash to get a cab is taken, her keys to the door of her home. Then there may be the concern of anyone coming to interrupt into the house’.

Like most girls, my handbag is bursting like a glutton’s stomach – but I did study the artwork of carrying every thing from the 2 best exponents of handbaggery: the Queen Mother and Margaret Thatcher, each pals of my father, the late Woodrow Wyatt.

Handbag enthusiast: The Queen Mother felt that a girl’s bag was an extension of herself
The Queen Mom dined and lunched with us 4 times a 12 months. On each occasion her outfits different primarily in colour.

For dinner, she wore an extended chiffon costume that might have been customary from icing and spherical her neck could be the contents of King Solomon’s mines.

For lunch she wore dresses with pleated skirts, a matching hat and ropes of pearls. However it was her bespoke Launer handbags, dyed to match her outfits, that were destined to tantalise and instruct.

– Queen and Prince Philip salvatore ferragamo made in italy medium vara flap bag pictured for the primary time after the Duke’s illness… and it doesn’t appear to be…

As she wafted via our front door, her handbag all the time preceded her. Even when accompanied by a lady-in-ready, she carried it herself, on her right arm, which was crossed over her magnificent embonpoint.

The handbag had its personal chair, which my father positioned beside her, as a way to keep away from the necessity of her bending the ramrod Royal back.

When we acquired a papillon pup referred to as Mimi, the dog made a leap for the chair. My father didn’t distinguish himself with his chivalry: ‘It’s not my animal, Ma’am,’ he stated, ‘it’s Petronella’s.’

However I have Mimi to thank for the historic moment when the secrets of the Royal handbag had been revealed.

Favorite tipple: The Queen Mother usually carried a flask of gin in her bag, and was apparently fond of Tanqueray

As Mimi tore on the primrose yellow silk clutch bag with its satin handle, the Queen Mom giggled. ‘Perhaps she’s sniffed out the chocolates,’ she mentioned, smiling wickedly. ‘The corgis always sniff them out at Sandringham. A minimum of one hopes it isn’t the gin.’

She dipped her beringed hand into her bag and drew out a linen handkerchief containing 4 Charbonnel et Walker rose-flavoured handmade chocolates.

‘The blood sugar can get a bit low at my age’ – she was then 85 – ‘but chocolates always do the trick. I haven’t had a dizzy spell but. Besides,’ she added mischievously, ‘it’s nice to have a treat after an indifferent meal.’

In winter, she continued, she often requested her equerry to pop in a tiny flask of gin.
‘I don’t approve of heated vehicles. They are very dangerous on your health. Many elderly people have caught pneumonia getting out of a heated automobile on to a freezing street. If one is chilly when travelling, a nip of gin is a much more smart concept.’

Later she confessed: ‘I’m not as good as you think I am. I’m a really vain lady.’
Indeed, she carried a gold powder compact, set with an emerald, given to her by a maharajah. Her gold lipstick holder had been original at Cartier to match. There was all the time a diamond brooch in a small box, ‘in case I really feel like exhibiting off a little’.

What astonished me most, however, was the Queen Mother’s revelation that she all the time carried a miniature first-support package. Would possibly I see it She obliged and showed salvatore ferragamo made in italy medium vara flap bag me a simple factor you may buy in Boots.

‘During the warfare, my late husband, the King, insisted I carry bandages and plasters in my bag and i never misplaced the behavior.

As a matter of reality, I have used it more previously few years, administering to my nice-grandchildren once they get cuts and scrapes, than I did throughout the Blitz.’

Her handbag prompted the one private comment I heard her make about her beloved grandson Prince Charles and came simply before he introduced his separation from Diana.

‘Charles doesn’t fairly perceive about Diana and her handbags. He thinks it’s just what the newspapers name vogue, and like all men feels more than two is an extravagance.

‘However a handbag is so much more to a woman, isn’t it It’s an extension of herself. Maybe that’s why it causes friction.’

I used to be a schoolgirl of 15 when I was knowledgeable that Margaret Thatcher can be becoming a member of us for a family dinner. She wore a crimson silk blouse and matching skirt and her perfectly manicured fingers were clutching the largest handbag I had ever seen.

Her black Salvatore Ferragamo handbag would fetch £83,110 at public sale in 2000 and a black Asprey quantity £25,000 last 12 months.Certainly, she and the bag appeared to have an nearly symbiotic relationship. Because the Iron Lady drank a Scotch before dinner, her free hand never ceased to hover above the handle.

When my mom known as us into the dining room, Denis had the duty of carrying his wife’s bag and then putting it beneath her chair.

I observed that she gripped it onerous together with her ankles and sometimes glanced down as if to guarantee herself that its physical presence was not an illusion.

Once my fear had receded, I asked how many handbags she possessed. ‘Thirty-five, dear.’
She required many handbags in a variety of colours, she instructed me, as a result of frequency of her engagements. However why so giant ‘A woman’s handbag is her home,’ she replied.

Egged on by three glasses of the blissful Hippocrene, I requested her if she may, for posterity’s sake, expose the secrets and techniques of what was then the world’s most famous handbag.

To my astonishment out got here what appeared to be her smalls. On nearer inspection, they have been two pairs of tights. ‘Moving about all the time, your tights can get laddered,’ she explained. ‘Always carry spares.’

She then extracted a bottle of clear nail varnish. ‘If you run by way of all three, the nail varnish prevents ladders from spreading.’

Next got here a sewing package. ‘I’m afraid I took that from a lodge,’ she said smiling. ‘But I can’t make speeches with the highest button of my blouse missing.’ Had it been anyone else I might have said the look she gave was arch.

She then drew out a powder compact, a mascara and two lipsticks. ‘I use a paler shade throughout the day and a darker shade within the evening. Beneath dim lights, a gentle shade washes you out.’

Ferragamo Vara Bow Patent Pump RedThere were cotton buds in case her mascara smudged, two canisters of Elnett hairspray (supreme hold) and a tub of Vaseline.

‘What do you do with the Vaseline ’ I asked nervously. ‘Apply it to my eyelids.