7-Plus Decades of Queen Elizabeth II's Iconic Handbags

The monarch is rarely seen without one of her trusty Launer bags, a brand she's been carrying for more than 50 years

01 of 09
Queen Elizabeth
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty; Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty

Time may pass and her outfits might change color, but one thing remains the same: Queen Elizabeth II's dedication to her iconic handbags.

Over the last five decades, the Queen has worn six different styles from the British luxury brand Launer, but it's the Traviata that has become her go-to style. Handmade in fine calf leather with a soft goat suede lining, the classic style, retailing for $2,376, is so closely associated with the Queen, it's become a bestseller for the brand and a constant in her closet. Olivia Colman even carried one when she played the Queen on The Crown!

Here, a look back at Her Majesty's journeys with her trusty handbags through the years.

02 of 09


queen elizabeth ii
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty

Even in the early 1950s, as she ascended the throne, Elizabeth toted larger bags with handles wrapped gracefully (and functionally) around her forearm.

"She can get her hand under the handle and open the bag," Launer CEO Gerald Bodmer once told PEOPLE of Queen Elizabeth's preferred style.

03 of 09


The Investiture of Prince Charles at Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon, Wales, Pictured, Prince Charles, newly installed as Prince of Wales, is presented to his people on a balcony at Queen Eleanor's Gate of Caernarfon Castle, with Queen Elizatheth II, 1st July 1969
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty

It hasn't always been the over-the-arm bag, however: at the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II opted for a clutch to accompany her coat dress (a rare sight!).

04 of 09


queen elizabeth ii
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty

The '70s are when she really devoted herself to Launer full-time.

Styles she has worn over the years include the Sofia, the Bellini and the Lisa in cream that was made specifically for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. It proved so popular it caused the brand's website to crash.

05 of 09


Elizabeth In Marrakech
Serge Lemoine/Getty Images

Here, the queen goes through her purse while in Marrakesh, Morocco. According to a 2021 PEOPLE piece, she actually travels quite light, often toting just a pen, handkerchief, glasses case, lipstick, hand cream and mints.

06 of 09


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the day of their 50th wedding anniversary in Westminster, London, UK, 20th November 1997
Colin Davey/Getty

She frequently jumps between black patent leather and white bags, seemingly to complement her ever-bright rainbow ensembles and match her sensible shoes.

07 of 09


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip prior to The Queen's Company Grenadier Guards ceremonial review
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. Chris Young/AP/Shutterstock

The royal family's history with Launer dates back to the 1950s when the Queen Mother purchased her first bag from the brand. Founded in the 1940s by Sam Launer, who fled Czechoslovakia with his wife and two sons during the war, the brand was given a Royal Warrant in 1968 before Bodmer took over in 1981, saving the brand from going into administration.

Now the company produces approximately 150 bags a year, each one made by one single craftsperson, taking approximately eight hours to hand finish at their all-women factory in Walsall, near Birmingham.

08 of 09


queen elizabeth ii
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

"We do various changes; pockets and handles and things for her," Launer CEO Bodmer told PEOPLE of the Queen's bespoke purchases. "She has a slightly longer handle on all of them so she can get her hands through it more easily. That way and she has a bigger pocket at the back too, but it varies. We do always put a coin purse inside for her and there's a leather-covered mirror in all of our bags."

09 of 09


Queen Elizabeth II official arrival at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, UK - 09 Aug 2021
Queen Elizabeth. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Bodmer told PEOPLE that more recently, the queen has chosen to wear the Turandot, a slightly smaller style, which includes an internal gold frame.

"I think she wants something a little lighter. When you get older, I think you want a lighter bag, but I do still see her with the Traviata," Bodmer said.

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