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    Readers suggest what's in Queen's clutch

    By DON ADDIS, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published May 26, 2002

    When last we met, class, we raised the question of what's in Queen Elizabeth's purse. Thank you for your participation, dear readers, in guessing along with me.

    A few years back our exceptional foreign correspondent, Susan Taylor Martin, was there in England to ask the same question of Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine. Ingrid said people asked that one a lot -- especially Americans. "She doesn't carry much in it . . . She probably has a powder compact and some dog biscuits." (The royal Welsh corgies must not go unfed.)

    Readers who sent in their supposals on the queen's tote included Betty Honig of St. Petersburg, who allowed as how Her Majesty "would not entertain in a trice, under any conceivable circumstance, the placement of facial tissues in the Royal Handbag.

    "However, upon those rare occasions when a smidgen of an assault to Her Majesty's delicate nostrils may be occasioned, the retrieval of a fine linen handkerchief from the Royal Handbag would be a most royally required social grace." All other suggestions, according to Betty, would be "barmy codswallop."

    I offered an earldom to the writer of the best suggestion, so Betty thought I might be requesting submissions from men only. Wrong, Your Ladyship. I believe in true equality, like female priests and feminine fighter pilots. The earldom is open to women, too. And, no, I wouldn't call her an "earlette."

    Dolores Bennett Singleton, observing that we never see the queen entering a restaurant, is sure the monarch carries food in her pocketbook. Maybe a slab of cold partridge in a zip-lock bag, a Tupperware container of plum pudding and four or five scones. Dolores even has Her Majesty stowing eats in her copious hat. What's this fixation with food, Dolo?

    George P. Bunce suspects she may be carrying a copy of The Best Offerings of Bent Offerings (a book of this cartoonist's formerly syndicated comic panel). "She may need a good chuckle now and again." Aw, shucks, George.

    Pat Aldape, up there in Tarpon Springs, says, "If Her Royal Highness has a lick of sense, she is packing heat in those little purses. After all, it cannot have escaped her royal notice that an unusually high number of branches of her family tree have been lopped off, so to speak, before their time."

    Virginia Ellis, meanwhile, disagrees with the above-quoted Betty Honig. Virginia is sure the mysterious receptacle contains seven used Kleenexes, a K-mart receipt, a doctor's appointment card from 2001, lottery tickets from two years ago. In other words, it's the same portable bottomless pit of obsolete feminine industrial waste that is Everywoman's purse.

    From Nancy Hoy in Ocala: "I thought everyone knew . . . She carries one or two clean sets of gloves! She shakes hands a lot so she always wants to have clean gloves." Grubby purse, perhaps, but clean gloves.

    Another practical entry came from Patricia Machtinger, who believes the bag in question contains stuff like two hankies (one for nose, one for eyes), breath mints, lip balm, a little Purell to sanitize the hands. You know -- the same ho-hum niff-naw we'd expect among the ruck of such a hottie royal.

    Richard Lueders in Clearwater heard from his English buddy in Buckshire that the queen's clutch contains two items: cucumber sandwiches and condoms. Well, I expected somebody to come off disrespectful. Some Yank, maybe, but not a fellow Brit. Aren't subjects supposed to be loyal?

    The best letter and winner of the earldom, of course, I promptly lost. (Lately my "senior moments" have stretched into "senior weeks.") Want to send it in again, mister? All the other entries have been mentioned here, so you know who you are.

    Bumper sticker of the month: My Border Collie Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student.

    Pause for a commercial: With the cost a first-class postage stamp going up to 37 cents, it's now going to be more expensive than your daily St. Petersburg Times. Weigh the two in both hands and think about which is the better value -- especially if you bought it for something to read. I mean, how long does it take, even if you move your lips when you read, to finish "USA 37"?

    Rumor is there's a new religious figurine showing up in the churches, intended to remind clerics about proper behavior. They call it the statue of limitations.

    A new study shows students today do poorly in American history. That's because half of them think Bunker Hill was named after Archie Bunker -- and the other half say, "Who's Archie Bunker?"

    Tampa City Council member Gwen Miller expressed a desire to have a playground named after her. If Ronald Reagan and Lee Roy Selmon can get places named after them while they're alive, why not Gwen? Difference is, if you have to ask to be honored, where's the honor?

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