The Queen famously doesn't carry cash, but Ruby the detector dog was not taking any chances

By Simon Perry
Updated November 12, 2015 03:05 PM
Credit: Richard Pohle/The Times/AP

Even the best sniffer dog in the world may have found it challenging trying to locate cash in this purse.

For Ruby, the 6-year-old Springer Spaniel, was poking her wet nose at the Launer handbag carried by Queen Elizabeth II – who famously carries little or no cash.

The detection dog has uncovered about $15 million of illegal money in the last five years working with the Border Force at London’s Heathrow Airport.

But on Thursday she met the Queen, 89, at the UK Government’s Home Office.

“She always goes for handbags because she knows that people carry money there, but she didn’t indicate this time,” Ruby’s handler David Bellingham, 38, told reporters. “If she had found a large amount of cash she would have sat down with her nose pointing at the source. Ruby would normally be working at this time of day so I could feel her wanting to pull towards the Queen.”

The monarch, in a sky blue Stewart Parvin coat and a matching hat by her in-house team led by Angela Kelly, was told how the dog sniffs out the money – the ink used to print cash has a strong scent.

The Queen, whose handbag caused something of a stir when she popped it down next to her chair at the photo call for the royal family at the christening for great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte, is said to only carry a couple of crisp 5 and 10 notes with her to church for collections, but she doesn’t carry cash for buying goods.

Otherwise, she might have sweeteners, reading glasses, a comb, some tissues inside her famous handbag, PEOPLE was told in September.

Want to keep up with the latest royals coverage? Click here to subscribe to the Royals Newsletter.

At the Home Office, she addressed staff who stood on balconies through the building’s seven-story atrium.

Thanking them, she raised some chuckles with an apparent self-reference to public service, she said, “I know that being a member of the Civil Service, and indeed being involved in public service of any sort, is not always an easy task. Even the best public servants cannot hope to be popular with everyone all the time; and – as in every walk of life – there is often room for improvement and finding fresh ways of doing things.”