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Royal code! How Queen Elizabeth uses her handbag to send secret messages to staff

It's a common social conundrum — you've run out of things to chat about but feel uncomfortable ditching the conversation so abruptly. Well would you be surprised to discover that the Queen of England has someone on hand to end that awkward encounter for you on cue?

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See how Queen Elizabeth uses her handbag to signal her handlers

Play Video - 1:13

See how Queen Elizabeth uses her handbag to signal her handlers

Play Video - 1:13

That's right! According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Queen Elizabeth II has a system of subtle codes that indicate to those around her that she's ready to wrap it up.

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Queen Elizabeth II greets an enthusiastic crowd in November 2012.

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Apparently the Queen typically stands with her purse tucked into the crook of her left arm, but when she casually shifts her pocketbook to her right arm it signals to her handlers that she's ready to move on. They then swoop in and politely usher her away from the conversation.

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Queen Elizabeth II greets actors Carey Mulligan and James Nesbitt in 2013, with her trusty purse in-hand.

Thankfully, this has typically been done very kindly. "Someone would come along and say, 'Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you,'" Vickers told People.

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But if things get a even dicier, the Queen indicates that she's ready to cut it out pronto by either spinning her ring or placing her bag on the floor. So sneaky!

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The Queen greets the Obamas at Windsor Castle in 2016.

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And it isn't just the Queen who invokes these subtle tricks — the Duchess of Cambridge also reportedly uses her purse to avoid uncomfortable encounters. She typically holds a clutch purse in front of her with both hands to avoid any clumsy handshakes.

While we may not be royalty, these are some crazy tricks we're definitely going to try out at our next awkward party!

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