Queen Elizabeth II travels at all times with servants flanking her on every side. What could the Queen of England possibly need to carry around in a handbag?
This question has so stumped the people of England that it inspired a book, "What's In The Queen's Handbag And Other Royal Secrets" by Phil Dampier.
And that this question has gone unanswered for so long, studiously ignored by Buckingham Palace, her majesty's tiny secrets clattering around in her handbag for all to wonder about, has only added to the queen's aura.
Until now, that is. One daring royal biographer has spilled the contents of the 85-year-old queen's purse to reveal that, for the most part, her majesty is, gasp!, just like us.
Sally Bedell Smith, author of the new book, "Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind the Throne," claims that among the contents of the queen's trademark, classic Launer handbag are reading glasses, mint lozenges, a fountain pen and a small mirror and lipstick.
The peek inside the life of the extremely private monarch comes just as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of 60 years on the throne, and prepares to embark on a tour of England with her husband, Prince Philip, later this year to celebrate.
Bedell Smith's knowledge of what's inside the queen's handbag comes from anecdotes of ladies-in-waiting and those who claim to have taken a peek inside, the Telegraph reports.
The one surprising additional item in the queen's bag is a portable hook that she reportedly carries around so that she can hang her purse discreetly under tables when she is seated, according to Bedell Smith's book
"I watched the queen open her handbag and remove a white suction cup and discreetly spit into it," a guest at the Berkshire home of the Queen's cousin, Jean Wills, is quoted as saying. "The Queen then attached the cup to the underside of the table. The cup had a hook on it, and she attached her handbag to it."
Although it is surprising that the queen needs to carry her own hook, she does not, like the rest of us, need to follow mom's advice to always have a few dollars or a debit card on hand, in case she gets stuck or needs to make a last-minute purchase.
The Queen rarely carries cash, Bedell Smith wrote, "(E)xcept for the 'precisely folded' 5 pound or 10 pound note on Sundays," which she donates at church.