The press widely published, and commented on, this Press Association photo of Theresa May meeting the Queen on her appointment as Prime Minister. My interest in it is neither in matters political nor regal. The object that caught my eye is the royal handbag.
The meeting took place at Buckingham Palace. The Queen's own gaff, not her favourite haunt we know but nonetheless one of her homes. From time to time she actually lives there, kipping, watching tele, lazing about the gardens, the works. It's not just the office (as pictured above) but her very own place of residence. So why, I am driven to ask, does the Queen tote a handbag when meeting her new PM? Why doesn't she simply hand it to a Lady-in-Waiting, or even dump it on that handily placed settee? Why does she constantly keep her left arm extended in a pose that must make the muscles ache after a bit, and let's face it, she's not getting any younger.
If Her Maj doesn't trust anyone to guard her bag then surely we must consider a new line of enquiry; viz, what on earth does she put in that trusty black reticule? Her mum would have had a useful half bottle of gin and the Racing Post. Her grandfather a book of one penny stamps which he could examine, one by one, for no obvious reason. We know she never carries money, and by the same token, sports neither a Freedom Pass nor a credit card, driving licence or passport. Is there a hanky in it, a nice one naturally, silk with her initials? A mobile phone with the private numbers of the crowned heads of Europe? Her life membership card for the Walthamstow Bingo Fellowship?
Of course, we shall never know (so long as she avoids employing Paul Burrell). Perhaps the bag will go into the Royal Archives at Windsor, to be unearthed by some Lucy Worsley of the future doing yet another TV show about the Monarchy. What is the significance of this little green roll of white sweets with a hole in the middle, she may muse, and why did the Queen keep the telephone number of 'Onest Harry Bookmakers of Repute scrawled on the back of a fag packet?
If you'd like to join in the debate, do please feel free to comment but be aware that you may jeopardise your chance of an OBE by so doing.