Shifting away from dainty clutches and demure dress coats, the Princess of Wales is ushering in a new era as a modern and fashion-forward royal. Wearing dark nail polish to Easter church service, opting for a bold berry lip for Order of the Garter and donning a slew of alluring Aquazzura pumps recently — the prim and proper Kate of yesterday has been replaced by a more glamorous and adventurous future Queen.
Along with her glow up from conservative to confident, Kate has done away with clutches in exchange for the elegant and polished look of a top handle bag. Originally designed for the office, these structured and sculptural envelope bags offer a sleek ladylike aesthetic with a vintage movie star vibe.
The top handle bag is the perfect compromise for the princess — it combines the sartorial safety of a small bag (i.e. compact clutch) but the charm of a chic statement bag.
Here are 12 of Kate Middleton’s Favorite Top Handle Bags:
- Mulberry Harlow Satchel in Cloud Blue
Perfect for high tea at the palace, Kate’s Mulberry Harlow bag in cloud blue features a two-tone flap front, top handle and signature Rider’s Lock closure. This equestrian inspired leather bag can be worn as a crossbody or traditional top handle.
2. Chanel Burgundy Boy Flap Bag with Enamel Handle
A quilted calfskin bag with iconic Chanel details, this designer bag is one of Kate’s prized possessions. Worn first in Paris in March 2017, the oxblood micro bag is distinguished by its interlocking CC logo in gold hardware, ornamental brass handle and quilted leather exterior.
3. Grace Han Black Love Letter Small Top Handle Bag
With an envelope closure in tribute to love letters written by enamored paramours, this chic and classic bag hails from a designer in London who creates leather bags based on themes like ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Ballet Lesson.’ Kate’s bag is part of the ‘Love Letter’ collection and encapsulates Han’s philosophy of values combining opposing elements like softness with strength and tradition with innovation.
A petite and structured mini bag, this Spanish made handbag is one of Kate’s favorite accessories for pairing with monochrome red and tan ensembles. Defined by its perfect proportions and portability, this triangular shaped top handle bag features the brand’s signature arrow inspired double-bar lock and a removable shoulder strap.
5. L.K. Bennett Milly Nude Leather Handheld Bag
The perfect bag for brunch or coffee catch-ups, the soft pink ‘Milly‘ is crafted in Spain from nude nappa leather and is designed with sixties style in mind. Featuring an easy grab and go handle, gold-tone metal lock and pretty brogue detailing — this retro-minded box bag has been carried by the princess just once in the summer of 2021.
Glossy grosgrain lilac leather makes this crocodile-embossed bag a standout in Kate’s collection of beautiful bags. Boasting vintage style with a contemporary flair, this bag is ideal for toting to Royal Ascot or a summer garden party. The stunning pale purple bag has a shield lock closure, shiny top handle and can be personalized with four initials. TPOW — The Princess of Wales?
7. Manu Atelier Green Micro Bag
Found by Turkish sisters in Istanbul, Manu Atelier gained momentum for their brand with the release of a rectangular camera bag. Today, they specialize in unique and interesting baguette bags, cylinder styles and even shearling adorned chain bags. Kate has worn a green mini bag from the brand on three occasions — the vegetable leather and suede shoulder bag has only been carried by the princess as a top handle style but is sold with a removable cub chain shoulder strap.
A sleek and sophisticated petite bag is perfect for royal engagements. The stylish DeMellier structured bag is effortlessly elegant with a double-bar lock and removable crossbody strap.
Designed with equestrian heritage in mind, Kate’s iconic Mulberry bag features the brand’s signature Rider’s Lock, reminiscent of a horse bit and bridle. The luxurious flap front bag has been in Kate’s royal rotation since July 2021; she has carried the icy white bag on at least 10 occasions.
The princess owns the lilac version of this royal-beloved bag (Zara Tindall loves the burgundy while Queen Camilla is also a fan of the label) which is named after the affluent area of the West End of London known for its Georgian townhouses, exclusive hotels and upscale restaurants. Kate’s carried this bag on five occasions and frequently pairs the vintage top handle design with black pants as well as tweed and twill coats or blazers.
11. Polene Paris Numero 7 Mini Bag in Blue Grain Leather
Crafted in Spain from textured calf leather — this mini accessory combines leather and jewelry work to create a stunning artisan bag. Kate first appeared with the square shaped foldover flap bag in May 2022 and has carried the short handle blue purse on a total of three occasions.
Echoing the same statement bag style as her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, Kate often carries croc bags on royal duty. Lady Di was a fan of an embossed crocodile patent black bag by Versace which had a top handle and lock and key closure. Sharing the same style sentiment, Kate carries this small crossbody bag from Mulberry which she owns in blue and ivory.