The story behind the Queen’s lifelong devotion to Launer handbags


“She once told me that she didn’t feel dressed without a bag,” said Launer CEO Gerald Bodmer. vogue. “And I completely agree, of course.” The company was founded by Sam Launer in 1940, received a Royal Warrant in 1968 and Bodmer took over the business in 1981. It was during his tenure that the Queen ordered Launer bags through her staunch personal adviser and senior dresser, Angela Kelly – the Royale and Traviata were her go-tos – and she was gifted Launer by her children (probably King Charles III, according to Bodmer).

Before Launer, the Queen and Queen Mother acquired bags from British cobbler Rayne, who sold models made by Launer. (It was widely reported that the Queen received her first Launer from the Queen Mother in the 1950s, but Bodmer was unable to confirm.)

The Queen and her royal dresser Angela Kelly ordered a special bag to wear to the Prince and Princess of Wales’ wedding in 2011.

Photo: Getty Images

Her Majesty visited the Launer factory in Walsall, just outside Birmingham, in 1991 to witness her favorite styles being made. Each bag is handmade and takes around eight hours, which equates to a hefty price tag (the Traviata costs over £2,090).

Clearly enthralled by the artisanal process, she was apparently “really interested” and addressed each member of staff separately. “The queen had charisma, a very good sense of humor,” Bodmer remarks. As for the rumors that she gave signals with her bags, whether it was to switch arms or place it on the floor or on a table? “You don’t need it when you’re like this,” he says.

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