The Reason Why Royals Carry Clutches In Public Is So You Won't Touch Them

by Kali Borovic
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The royals have a lot of weird fashion and beauty rules to follow. They can't wear colored nail polish, have to wear hats to certain events, and even have specific rules on what accessories they can wear. And that means favoring a clutch as the official royal bag. But it turns out there's a good reason that the royals always carry a clutch with them to events — and the hack might just make you want to embrace the trend, too.

All eyes are always on the royals. Heck, the Meghan Markle Effect — the term used for her wearing an item and it instantly selling out — went into swing as soon as she stepped out to announce her engagement. But there's another reason that you've been seeing Markle, Kate Middleton, and The Queen carry clutches with them to every event. The royals carry a clutch because it keeps her hands busy.

The sneaky etiquette reason for the style choice is actually sort of devious. You don't have to shake hands with someone if you don't have open hands to shake. The clutch is essentially used as a way to avoid awkward situations, which is enough to make you want to carrying them from now on too.

“It is protocol that you do not extend your hand to any member of the royal family (blood royal or those who have married into the family) unless their hand extends first," etiquette expert William Hanson said in a Daily Mail interview.

“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.”

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Technically, the royals are supposed to carry clutches with them to events, not handbags. But when you see Meghan Markle, you'll notice she prefers a tiny strapped bag. But Markle is no average royal. She's been pushing the boundaries with her fashion choices since she the very beginning, and this rule is no different. For her first public appearance, she carried a $667 Strathberry bag that had, you guessed it, a long strap that freed up a hand.

She then head out for her second public appearance carrying a slightly smaller bag with a short strap, but still a strap nonetheless. It's not the first fashion rule that she's toed the line on, either. According to the rules, royals have to wear tights when they're wearing a skirt or dress. Instead, Markle stepped out in thigh high boots to cover up instead.

Oh, and Markle also rocked a messy bun, which is against hair protocol. According to InStyle, royals should have their hair perfectly maintained at all times. Middleton even sometimes wears a hairnet to keep it in place throughout the day, but Markle is going for a different style. She's worn the messy bun twice now.

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Markle isn't the only royal who has gone against fashion and beauty rules. According to Hello Magazine, Princess Diana never wore gloves or hats in public — even when she was supposed to. She was seen carrying clutches in her time, but favored the same type of purses that Markle does. Princess Diana also skipped some of the royal rules that she thought were unfit for her.

"[Princess Diana] abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact." Eleri Lynn, who curated Kensington Palace's new exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story told People. "She also stopped wearing hats because she said, 'You can't cuddle a child in a hat."

For the record, Markle has worn a hat when she was supposed to, as of Feb. 1, but you can't deny that the two royals have a rebellious fashion in common.

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With the royal wedding right around the corner, Markle is bound to have plenty more fashion moments on the way to add to the list. Let's see if she get sick of all the handshaking an opts for a clutch as time goes on.