Queen Elizabeth Unveiled a New Portrait of Herself — and Her Handbag Made an Unexpected Cameo
The Queen is rarely seen without her royal handbag
The monarch unveiled a new portrait of herself on Wednesday while visiting the Royal Air Force Club for the organization’s 100th anniversary.
Painted by artist Ben Sullivan, the portrait features the Queen sitting in a drawing room in Windsor Castle, wearing a light blue dress and pearls, with her trusty black Launer London handbag sitting beside her on the floor.
Queen Elizabeth, who is hardly ever seen without her trusty bag, has reportedly owned more than 200 Launer handbags over the years. Her loyalty to the brand began in 1968, when designer Sam Launer sent her a bag.
“I think the idea was to capture something of the role of the monarch, but one tries to get behind that to the person,” Sullivan said after the unveiling. “And I really like the idea her handbag was placed in front of the gilt chair. It was almost happenstance that it was placed there but it gives some idea there’s actually a person as well as a figurehead—it’s personal.”
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“It’s where she put it, and I thought I could take it out,” he continued, “but then I thought—actually it’s quite a nice thing, a personal thing.”
If you’re wondering what the Queen carries in her bag, “she may have had a small camera in it, as she likes to take impromptu snaps,”Phil Dampier, co-author of What’s in the Queen’s Handbag? And Other Royal Secrets previously told PEOPLE. “She will have perhaps had her glasses in there, or her sunglasses in there if she was going out in the garden.”
She’s also rumored to include a small mirror, lipstick, mints and a pen in her bag, and on Sundays, a £5 or £10 note for the church collection plate.
“She would feel lost without it,” he said. “It’s her most valued possession and a valuable tool. The Queen would never go anywhere without her handbag. The only time she might not have it by her side is when she is in a completely relaxed environment, like up at Balmoral, and she’s out driving or something.”