Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, appears to have adopted a discreet communication method pioneered by the late Queen Elizabeth II. This subtle technique, involving the strategic use of a handbag, allows Middleton to convey messages to her royal team without uttering a word, a tactic that has intrigued royal watchers and etiquette experts alike.

During her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth reportedly used her handbag to send covert signals to her aides at royal engagements, according to the Mirror U.K. The late monarch, who passed away at age 96 in 2022, had developed a sophisticated system of cues that her staff could interpret to understand her moods and needs. For instance, shifting her handbag from one arm to the other indicated she was ready to move on from a conversation.

Royal historian Hugo Vickers detailed one such scenario, saying, "It would be very worrying if you were talking to the Queen and saw the handbag move from one hand to the other. It would be done very nicely. Someone would come along and say, 'Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you.'" This subtle gesture would prompt a smooth exit, allowing the Queen to navigate social interactions efficiently.

Kate Middleton, it seems, has adopted a similar approach. Royal etiquette expert Myka Meier revealed that Middleton uses her clutch in public settings to avoid handshakes. "When Kate is at an event, she holds her bag in front of her in both hands when shaking hands might be awkward," Meier told Good Housekeeping. This practice provides Middleton with a polite excuse not to extend her hand to everyone she meets, as etiquette coach William Hanson elaborated to Express U.K., noting, "She can't shake the hands of everyone she meets -- the duchess would be there all day!"

Middleton's adaptation of these techniques underscores her keen understanding of royal protocol and her ability to navigate public engagements with grace and subtlety. This method of silent communication ensures that she can maintain control over her interactions, signaling her preferences and needs to her team discreetly.

Despite her mastery of public appearances, Middleton's recent battle with cancer has necessitated a period of reduced visibility. The Princess of Wales, who continues to undergo chemotherapy, made her first public appearance in six months at the Trooping the Colour event last month. While this appearance sparked speculation about her return to regular duties, she has since remained largely out of the public eye.

Over the weekend, however, Middleton took to social media to send a heartfelt message to her friend, tennis legend Andy Murray, as he concluded his Wimbledon career. "An incredible Wimbledon career comes to an end. You should be so very proud @andymurray. On behalf of all of us, thank you!" she posted on Instagram Stories, showcasing her continued engagement with public figures and events despite her health challenges.

Middleton's careful balancing of her royal duties and personal health reflects her dedication to her role while managing the demands of her treatment. Her ability to stay connected with the public through social media and her occasional appearances underscores her resilience and commitment to her responsibilities.

As Middleton continues to navigate her public role, her use of subtle signals and strategic communication tools like the handbag method exemplifies her adaptability and respect for royal traditions. These techniques, learned from the Queen, enable her to manage her public interactions effectively, maintaining a regal presence while addressing the practicalities of her engagements.

In adopting and refining these methods, Kate Middleton not only honors the legacy of Queen Elizabeth but also demonstrates her own adeptness at fulfilling her duties with poise and discretion. Her approach ensures that she remains an influential and respected figure within the royal family, capable of handling the complexities of her public and personal life with grace.