Queen Elizabeth II is just like the rest of us… at least when it comes to handbags. She has a favorite brand which is her go-to for any occasion. No, it’s not Chanel, Dior or Hermès as we would imagine. Rather, it is a small UK based boutique brand Launer. Never heard of it? We’re not surprised. Founded in 1940, by Sam Launer, the brand has been around for 80 years and its royal roots go back nearly as far.
Although rarely discussed in the popular lexicon of bags, Launer is certainly elite. Based in Walsall near Birmingham, Launer only produces around 150 handbags a year. Each handbag takes approximately eight hours to finish and are all made by one single craftsman! Available online via their own website, the bags prices start at around $2500 and can be customized.
Just for the record, The Queen owns a staggering 200 Launer Bags!
The Queen and Launer go back decades. The Queen Mother was a fan of the brand and gifted her daughter (Queen Elizabeth II) her first Launer handbag in the 1950s. Since then, The Queen has seldom carried any other brand.
In fact, Launer was awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment (recognizing those who supply goods or services to the royal family) back in 1968. A Launer handbag featured prominently in an official royal portrait of The Queen that was unveiled in 2018!
According to Launer’s CEO, Gerald Bodmer, Queen Elizabeth tends to order about five new bags each year. All are top handle handbags meant to be handheld. Her royal order, however, is not merely stock models. Queen Elizabeth II knows what she likes and needs. Her top handle bags do not have zippers, shoulder straps or partitions, even if that is the basic style. The Queen’s bags come with an added coin purse and often with an extra pocket at the back.
She requests the addition of an inner frame and, most importantly, longer handles. These allow the bag to rest comfortably on her arm. It also allows her to easily unlock and get what she needs from inside.. And most importantly, she can shake hands with other dignitaries without the bag getting in the way!
Three main Launer models accompany Queen Elizabeth II:
Aptly named after her, this seems to be a royal favorite, particularly in a patent leather finish. It is a feminine style with soft curves and rounded edges. Made with fine patent or calf leather, the bag has a suede inner lining and partition that divides the bag in two. It also comes with a leather mirror and has a discreet inner zip pocket.
This design is a modern take on the traditional Royale style and is also made with fine patent or calf leather with a suede inner lining. The difference is in the squared edges near the signature rope logo clasp. Thanks to The Queens patronage (it is her favorite style), this bag is a top selling style for the brand.
The Custom Bag
One of the earliest bags customized for The Queen is an unnamed style which she was first spotted with in 1970 and has been seen with several times over the decades. It is a square shaped black patent leather bag, without a flap or the brands twisted rope. Exclusively designed for Her Majesty, the bag fits her style preference. This particular design has never been branded or replicated for anyone else. Perhaps not surprisingly, this is the bag in the 2018 portrait of The Queen.
Given The Queen’s propensity for bright colored ensembles and hats (allegedly to enable the public a better view of her), you might imagine her vast Launer collection to span a wide range of hues. Rather, like so many of us, The Queen favors black patent leather versions. Black does go with virtually everything. Of course, there’s an exception to every rule. For example, at Prince William’s wedding, she chose to accessorize her lemon yellow ensemble with a cream colored Launer Bag.
What Does the Queen Carry in Her Launer Bag?
The Queen depends on her bag to carry daily essentials she prefers to access on her own. This includes reading glasses, a lipstick, a compact mirror, a pen, mint lozenges and five and ten pound notes for offerings at the church. She is also known to carry family photos, good luck charms, crossword puzzles and even dog treats at times.
Reportedly, The Queen has also been seen pulling out a portable hook with a suction cup to hang her bag up under a table when needed (read: This Is What the Queen Carries in Her Handbag).
High on functionality, we see why the Queen is rarely seen without her bag.
Does The Queen’s royal style match yours? Classic or old-fashioned? What do you think?