Royals Why Queen Elizabeth Had Her Signature Handbag by Her Side at Her Final Engagement The CEO of Launer, purveyor of Queen Elizabeth's iconic purses, spoke exclusively with PEOPLE, saying the monarch once said, "I don't feel dressed without a handbag" By Monique Jessen and Janine Henni Janine Henni Twitter Janine Henni is a Royals Staff Writer for PEOPLE Digital, covering modern monarchies and the world's most famous families. Like Queen Elizabeth, she loves horses and a great tiara moment. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 16, 2022 10:49 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Queen Elizabeth and British prime minister, Liz Truss, two days before she died. . Photo: Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Like many busy women, Queen Elizabeth valued the power of a great handbag. The monarch carried a black patent bag from beloved brand Launer when she appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle on September 6, her last royal duty before she "peacefully" died two days later at age 96. Gerald Bodmer, CEO of Launer, exclusively tells PEOPLE he and his team were honored to see the Queen with her signature purse in her final days, hanging on her arm. "I'm amazed how she carried on carrying her bag with a walking stick," Bodmer says. "She [once] said to me, 'I don't feel dressed without a handbag.' " Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Get Emotional at Queen's Funeral Procession Bettmann Archive/Getty On what Queen Elizabeth was like in real life, the fashion executive says the monarch radiated charm. "She was absolutely charming, delightful and ordinary — she was just like the lady next door," Bodmer recalls. "She was aware of everything, very smart." For more on Queen Elizabeth, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. The CEO got to meet the Queen three times, explaining that she was fascinated by the production process for the luxury London label when they last spoke. An invested customer, she owned several bags from the brand, which she wore over five decades and awarded a Royal Warrant in 1968. Serge Lemoine/Getty Images "Last time, I think it was for her 85th birthday, and I presented a bag to her at Buckingham Palace. I took my factory manager," Bodmer says. "She was quite aware of the competition, we had a really interesting conversation, it wasn't just platitudes. We were talking about the number of Chinese imports." Years before, the Queen even visited the company's factory in Walsall, about three hours northwest of London. See PEOPLE's Two Commemorative Covers Honoring the Life of Queen Elizabeth Queen Elizabeth. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty "When she came to the factory, we spent the time showing her and she wanted to know about things," he says of the 1992 trip, per company history. "She was quite witty, very nice. She an aura that was royal and this huge charisma." Whether she was meeting with prime ministers, princes or people of the United Kingdom, Bodmer says that he and his team are humbled that the Queen reached for Launer time and time again through the years. "Isn't that a wonderful story, that it's been there at all these important occasions," he says of her go-to accessory. JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! Much has been made of what the Queen kept in her iconic purse, most famously toting the Traviata style. During her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, she gave a glimpse of her humorous side when she playfully pulled a marmalade sandwich from her handbag during a pre-recorded skit with Paddington Bear.