The internet is abuzz with talk about Kate Middleton’s penchant for carrying a clutch bag. What is fueling the talk are two different articles. One is reporting that Kate Middleton holds a clutch bag as a “shield,” while the other states that carrying a clutch makes it awkward for Catherine when she greets someone. What exactly did these two etiquette experts say, and what could possibly be the real reason that the Duchess of Cambridge carries a clutch?
The whole furor began when Good Housekeeping published a story entitled “16 Hosting Rules Kate Middleton Never Breaks.” In this piece, they consulted with “legit royal family etiquette expert” Myka Meier. She has been trained in London in the finer aspects of proper royal etiquette, as well as attended finishing schools in both Switzerland and in the United Kingdom. The founder of Beaumont Etiquette, her many years of training makes her the most qualified person to expound on Kate Middleton’s impeccable hostess tips.
The hosting rules listed were very cut and dry and included such specifics as sending out invitations to a party that includes both a start time and an end time, and how many different types of hors d’oeuvres to serve based on the amount of guests attending your soiree.
Then the royal etiquette guru started the whirlwind of speculation when she mentioned that the way Kate Middleton holds her clutch bag in front of her, made it awkward for the duchess to properly shake hands with guests that she greets.
“When the Duchess is at an event, she holds her bag in front of her in both hands when shaking hands might be awkward. Or she can place it in one hand to have the other free. It never gets tucked under an arm or placed on the ground or table.”
Then, the Daily Mail brought in their own etiquette expert, William Hanson, to further expound on what Myka Meier said and further interpret Kate’s use of a clutch bag. Hanson believes that Kate holds a clutch bag to avoid shaking hands with people she does not wish to greet. The paper also believes that by carrying a clutch, she appears “very standoffish.”
‘”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.”
Hanson further explained royal etiquette and stated that anyone meeting a member of the royal family should not extend their hand towards that family member. Instead, the royal must extend their hand if they wish to greet you in this manner.
“It is protocol that you do not extend your hand to any member of the royal family unless their hand extends first.”
For anyone confused as to who would qualify under that royal family umbrella, this would include anyone that is a blood royal or any person who is married to a blood royal.
Hanson believes that Kate is being too nice, greeting everyone. He also believes that with experience, she will become more selective in who she greets.
“With more experience, The Duchess of Cambridge will soon realize that she needn’t be too nice, extend and shake hands with everyone.”
Eventually, Kate will learn how to just give a polite smile in lieu of shaking hands.
“A courteous smile at those whom she does not have time to shake hands will suffice.”
Could there be another reason? Toastmasters suggests that those in the public eye, such as royalty, don’t want to reveal to others that they are nervous or self-conscious. Instead, if they hold onto a handbag or a bracelet or watch, “a barrier is formed and the secure feeling is achieved.”
This appears to hold true for Catherine. When she is actively involved in a group, as she recently was with the Boy Scouts, there was not a clutch bag in sight. Yet, when she has appeared at public functions where she is not expected to participate in anything more than greeting others, she holds onto a clutch bag. Is it possible that Kate Middleton is holding a clutch to give her a secure feeling?
Do you think that the etiquette experts are right that Kate Middleton is standoffish? Or do you think that they are reading too much into her her preference for clutch bags?
[Featured Image by Ian Vogler – Pool/Getty Images]