Fashion

The real reason Kate Middleton carries a clutch bag at all times

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Kayleigh Dray
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Kate Middleton has been dubbed a “style icon” by many people over the years, and it’s hard to disagree with them. Internet users are obsessed with her budget beauty tips, her chestnut tresses have sparked a blow-dry craze (not to mention been pinned to thousands of Pinterest boards), and, should she ever step out in a high-street dress, online shoppers race to be the first to buy it for themselves.

So it goes without saying that people have noticed Middleton’s penchant for clutch bags – after all, she’s rarely seen on an official engagement without one.

But while we assumed she just had a thing for teeny-weeny bags (we would too, if we had a team of aides to carry all the rest of the stuff we need), it turns out that the royal has a very good reason for sticking to her trusty clutch.



Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, recently sat down to chat with Good Housekeeping, and spoke about Middleton’s fondness for the clutch.

And, as it turns out, the Duchess prefers to carry one in a bid to ward off unwanted handshakes. Genius.

“When the Duchess is at an event, she holds her bag in front of her in both hands when shaking hands might be awkward,” explains Meier.

However, if Middleton is far more inclined to shake hands with someone, she absolutely can do so – as long as she doesn’t have to tuck her bag under her arm (a big etiquette no-no, apparently).

Instead, all she has to do is place her bag “in one hand to have the other free”.

Kate Middleton is rarely seen without her trusty clutch bag

Kate Middleton is rarely seen without her trusty clutch bag

However, William Hanson, a fellow etiquette expert, told Mail Online that Middleton doesn’t have to use her clutch as a shield.

“The Duchess of Cambridge may well prefer not to shake hands with certain people - but there are other ways to achieve this, as used by the Queen and other members of the royal family, than opting for a clutch over a bag with a strap,” he said. 

“It is protocol that you do not extend your hand to any member of the royal family (blood royal or those who have married in to the family) unless their hand extends first.”

It is the perfect deterrent to awkward handshakes

It is the perfect deterrent to awkward handshakes

Hanson adds: “A courteous smile at those whom she does not have time to shake hands will suffice.”



Fingers crossed the bag move does the trick when President Donald Trump finally makes good on his threat of visiting the UK, particularly as he has such a sketchy history when it comes to shaking hands with high-profile women.

However we imagine that even Middleton, with all of her royal training, will find it hard to muster up a smile for a man so vehemently against women’s rights.

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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