How Queen Elizabeth Discreetly Signals She Doesn't Want To Talk To Someone

For normal people, ending a conversation you don't want to be in is just a matter of making up an excuse or — if things go really badly — just walking away. Members of the royal family, however, are subject to a different set of rules and must observe some pretty stringent etiquette, which means they can't just ditch someone at a gathering. Queen Elizabeth, as the reigning monarch, must be particularly discreet in social settings, and even has some special ways to signal that she wants out of an uncomfortable or boring discussion.

According to People, conversation enders are easiest when the royal is at home at Buckingham Palace, which is equipped with a royal buzzer that she presses when she's ready for a meeting with a guest to end. The buzzer notifies the queen's staff to come in and escort the guest out.

In public, however, Queen Elizabeth can't rely on her buzzer. Instead, she has a series of signals that bring her aides to her, well, aid. One way she lets her handlers know that she's ready to stop talking to someone is to move her handbag from one arm to the other. "It would be done very nicely," said royal historian Hugo Vickers of how Queen Elizabeth's handlers manage the situation. "Someone would come along and say, 'Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you."

Queen Elizabeth isn't the only royal with a discreet way of ending a conversation

If things are especially dire and she wants an immediate out, Queen Elizabeth will either begin to spin her wedding band on her finger, or put her handbag down on the floor.

Other members of the royal family have their own ways to get out of a lengthy conversation. Prince Philip reportedly makes a sweeping motion when he is meeting people in a line. To avoid getting into a long chat, the queen's husband will shake someone's hand, ask how they're doing, then proceed to swing his hand from left to right. By the time the question has been answered, the prince will have moved down the line.

Prince Charles' conversation stopper is to make a joke and escape as his audience laughs. "Prince Charles has a quick 'ha ha' and that enables him to break the conversation," said Vickers.