Duchess Sophie prioritises style over practicality with her go-to accessory that elevates even the most casual look

The Duchess of Edinburgh is a fan of a timeless accessory that might not be the most practical, but adds a 'touch of elegance' to any outfit

Composite of Duchess Sophie holding a clutch bag at the Abbey Road zebra crossing, at Yeo Valley Farm and at the Commonwealth Day service in 2024
(Image credit: Image 1:Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images // Image 2:Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images // Image 3:Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Duchess Sophie prioritises style over practicality with her go-to accessory and it can help elevate even the most casual look.

Over the years the Duchess of Edinburgh has really created her signature look, moving away from the short bob hairstyles she loved in the 1990s and 2000s to her shoulder length tresses, and embracing midi dresses and tailoring. She consistently delivers so much spring capsule wardrobe inspiration with her outfits and her choice of go-to handbag has really caught our eye. Whilst you might consider a crossbody or shoulder bag to be the sensible choice for a senior royal who shakes a lot of people’s hands and gets involved at engagements, Duchess Sophie prioritises style over practicality and generally chooses a clutch instead.

Whether she’s undertaking daytime engagement, appearing at a royal church service or attending an evening reception, clutches are definitely the Duchess’s first pick.

Composite of Duchess Sophie with a clutch bag during her visit to Yeo Valley Farm and during her visit to Christopher's

(Image credit: Image 1:Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images //Image 2: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

She occasionally steps out with a shoulder bag (though even then she often carries it by the handle) and on even rarer occasions, she’ll wear a crossbody. But most of the time, Duchess Sophie’s clutches get to shine and she has quite the collection.

Shop Clutch Bags For Any Occasion

Their limited capacity and need to be handheld makes clutches not the most functional bag on a daily basis. However, woman&home Digital Fashion Editor Caroline Parr believes a clutch will "always be a classic" and adds "elegance" to an outfit - something Duchess Sophie knows all about!

"Bag trends come and go, but a clutch will always be a classic. Certainly, a chic clutch bag is a good choice for a royal as it gives you something to do with your hands, but for the rest of us it adds a touch of elegance to any outfit," Caroline explained. "The perfect clutch will be the right size for just the essentials and preferably a neutral colour to fit with everything in your wardrobe."

Composite of Duchess Sophie holding a clutch at Stable and Wick Bakery and Farm Shop and at a a service celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the NHS

(Image credit: Image 1: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images//Image 2: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

In the last few months alone we’ve seen Her Royal Highness wearing a clutch bag to everything from a special Changing of the Guard ceremony to a visit to Yeo Valley Farm and the Orbis Visionaries Reception reception at Abbey Road Studios. Duchess Sophie has also previously gone for a clutch on Christmas Day, to a service celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NHS and for a visit to The London College of Fashion.

Seemingly she agrees with Caroline about the versatility of a neutral clutch because she has been spotted with several. However, Duchess Sophie’s love for this chic design means she also has pastel and bolder shades and loves animal print finishes.

Composite of Duchess Sophie wearing a clutch bag during a visit to The London College of Fashion in 2024 and at Christmas 2023

(Image credit: Image 1:Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images //Image 2:Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

If you’re not sure about picking a clutch in a bold hue then a textured finish will also add interest and a sense of fun without being too much. A clutch bag is perfect for special occasions and is one of the best evening bags, though as a royal it’s no surprise that Duchess Sophie wears them more day-to-day as she tends to dress formally for official appearances.

When she needs to be hands-free she has an easy solution and simply puts the clutches under her arm, making this style work for her. The Duchess of Edinburgh isn’t the only royal who puts the chic appearance of clutches above more practicality as Queen Camilla and the Princess of Wales also love a clutch bag. Their clutch bags are often colour-coordinated perfectly with their clothes, creating a very put-together final look that's totally in harmony.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!