Why the Queen insisted on always holding her own umbrella on rainy days

Despite royal protocol, the Queen insisted on always holding her own umbrella because of this particularly sensible reason

the Queen insisted on always holding her own umbrella because of this particularly sensible reason
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo / Contributor / Getty Images)

During her reign Her Majesty shunned traditional protocols and the Queen insisted on always holding her own umbrella.

Throughout her life, the late Queen was associated with formality and being proper, but there was one task that the Queen insisted on doing for herself - holding her own umbrella. While it might be more formal for a man to hold an umbrella for a lady, this was actually rather impractical, and the sensible reason the Queen decided to perform this task for herself, is actually pretty understandable.  

Author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth revealed in the Oldie magazine that when he was a 20-year-old student he met the Queen when she visited Oxford University in 1968. It was a rainy day and the student reprimanded a fellow classmate who didn't offer to hold the Queen's umbrella for her.

The author wrote, "When she had gone I reprimanded William Waldegrave (the Oxford Union President, now Baron Waldegrave) for not carrying the monarch's umbrella for her as he escorted her across the courtyard in the rain." 

The author then revealed that the reason Her Majesty prefers to hold her own umbrella is so that she doesn't end up with rain falling down her neck - a common problem if you are not walking perfectly synchronized with the person holding your brolly. "He told me 'The Queen insists on holding her own umbrella - always. If someone else holds it, the rain trickles down her neck'," said Gyles.


(Image credit: Tim Graham / Contributor / Getty Images)

This explains why Her Majesty was often seen carrying her own umbrella, and not relying on anyone accompanying her to help. 

The Queen also made the decision to use clear umbrellas so that when she was photographed she would still be visible and a dark umbrella would't cast a dark shadow over her face. 

During her life, the Queen also used umbrellas as an additional accessory to her outfit and often wore umbrellas with colorful bands that matched her colorblock looks.


(Image credit: CARL DE SOUZA / Staff / Getty Images)

This was just one of the many practical tasks that the Queen preferred to complete for herself. For example, the Queen enjoyed walking her own dogs, and she only gave up this chore once it was too difficult for her to take them on long walks and give them the exercise that they needed.

Similarly, although the Queen had a number of footmen and drivers who would be happy to drive her wherever she desired, the Queen enjoyed driving. Her Majesty was often snapped driving around her estates in her signature Land Rover and continued driving until the year she died.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.