Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, if you want to be official about it) is ubiquitous for rewearing outfits to royal engagements. But while many believe her humble roots are to thank for this down-to-earth practicality, perhaps she’s been taking notes from her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, all along. The monarch has been wearing the same shoes for 50 years.
Well, not the exact same shoes, but the same style. The coats have become narrower, the hemlines slightly longer, but the Queen’s shoes have remained the same. Known as her work shoes, they are handmade to her measurements by London shoemaker Anello & Davide from calf leather, usually in black patent with a brass clasp or small bow. According to David Hyatt, who works for the custom cobblers, the Queen is no Imelda Marcos. “We supply her with one or two pairs a year and occasionally renew the tops and re-heel them,” he reveals. In fact, though the 88-year-old monarch has worked her way through hundreds of almost identical pairs over the years, she circles back to the same 10 pairs at any one time.
But get this: As the shoes have to be immediately comfortable (all that walking and hand-shaking, don’t you know), whenever she gets a new pair, a member of staff with the same U.K. size 4 feet will trot up and down palatial corridors for her until the shoes are sufficiently broken in. Just another perk of being the Queen.