Queen Elizabeth II talks with George Brandis, the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, at Buckingham Palace. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP
Queen Elizabeth II talks with George Brandis, the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, at Buckingham Palace. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP

The Queen’s secret handbag signal

IT WAS supposed to be all about a meeting between the new Australian High Commissioner to the UK and Queen Elizabeth II - but somehow, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have inadvertently stolen focus.

In official pictures released of George Brandis' visit to Buckingham Palace's Audience Room this week, eagle-eyed fans spotted a previously unseen image of the royal newlyweds decorating a table in the background.

In fact, the image is full of fascinating details. For instance, just look at the chair.

 

Take a look at the position of the handbag — it’s a secret signal from the Queen. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP.
Take a look at the position of the handbag — it’s a secret signal from the Queen. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP.

According to The Australian's Jacquelin Magnay the seemingly innocuous position of the sovereign's trademark Launer handbag speaks volumes.

The bag is placed on a chair, a signal to her staff that the Queen is happy to have a prolonged natter with the High Commissioner.

If her bag were to be on the floor, it would signal an immediate intervention to staff to end the conversation forthwith. On the table, and she would be giving Mr Brandis a mere five minutes of her precious time.

Moving to the photograph on the table of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry is seen wearing a blue suit and white shirt, while Meghan is wearing a pastel blue dress, with her long dark hair left down.

According to Hello!, the portrait of the couple is likely to have been taken by the couple's wedding photographer, Alexi Lubomirski, as part of their engagement shoot last December.

Forget the people in the front — it’s still all about Harry and Meghan. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP
Forget the people in the front — it’s still all about Harry and Meghan. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP

 

Too bad for the rest of the royal grandkids. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP
Too bad for the rest of the royal grandkids. Picture: John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP

Awkwardly, it also kind of indicates that the Queen may be playing favourites.

In a picture taken in the same room with New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in April, a framed photo of the Queen's daughter Princess Anne and her husband Timothy Laurence was in that same position.

It now appears to have been pushed to the back of the table to make way for Harry and Meghan.

 

Less than six weeks ago, Princess Anne was front and centre. Picture: Dominic Lipinski-WPA Pool/Getty Images
Less than six weeks ago, Princess Anne was front and centre. Picture: Dominic Lipinski-WPA Pool/Getty Images

 

… But her moment is over. Picture: Dominic Lipinski-WPA Pool/Getty Images
… But her moment is over. Picture: Dominic Lipinski-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Audience Room, on the first floor of the palace, has long been the Queen's favourite room to display family mementos, and its walls are covered with photos.

Other than the Harry and Meghan portrait, other framed pictures include one of Zara and Mike Tindall at their wedding, and a picture of Prince William and Harry in their military uniforms.