The 'Worrying' Signals The Queen Sends to Staffers To Avoid Conversation

the worrying signals the queen sends to staffers f
Source: MEGA (2)

Feb. 11 2021, Updated 12:56 p.m. ET

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Being the Queen comes with a lot of responsibilities – including endless public speaking engagements and interactions with loyal subjects and fans. And while she is always gracious about making time for people as part of her royal duties, sometimes she needs a little help ending a conversation.

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During her decades of public service and being "on" all the time, her Royal Highness has come up with some secret signals to send staffers using her purse and wedding ring when she wants to get out of a conversation. 

The first trick is the placement of her ubiquitous handbag: if she moves it from one arm to another while engaged in a chat, her team knows to come rescue her.

Royal historian Hugo Vickers has said: "It would be very worrying if you were talking to the Queen and saw the handbag move from one hand to the other. "

If she is without her pocketbook, Queen Elizabeth uses her wedding ring as a signal: a quick twist means that she needs backup while a more vigorous spins indicates that she needs out of the situation immediately.

Staffers know to come interrupt, but do so with grace as to not upset the Queen's conversation partner, usually explaining that she is needed for something else. "Luckily, they’d let you down easy", Hugo adds.

"It would be done very nicely. Someone would come along and say, "Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you'."

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The Queen can also get into sticky situations while at home at the Palace so she has set up a safeguard against lingering guests: a clandestine button she presses to let her team know she wants them to open the door and escort her guest out.

But she isn't the only Royal to imply such strategies. Prince Philip uses a sweeping motion when meeting people in public as to avoid getting into any unwanted lengthy chats.

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge is often seen carrying a clutch bag during her outings which many see as a way for her to avoid shaking hands with admirers.



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