The Queen Has an Incredible Hack for Breaking in Her Shoes

We bow down.

Queen Elizabeth has hired for many an odd job in her day. In fact, we here at Travel + Leisure love to document her latest job ads from traveling chefs to social media editors, Buckingham Palace redecorators, and even a personal Twitter writer. But I have a confession, T+L readers. I severely let you down, because I never knew, until this week, that the Queen also has an employee whose job it is to wear her shoes before she does to break them in.

In 2012, Stewart Parvin, the Queen's official designer, shared with The Sunday Times that a member of her house staff must wear her shoes to break them in before she puts them on her royal feet.

"[The shoes] have to be immediately comfortable...she does get someone to wear them," Parvin revealed. "The Queen can never say 'I'm uncomfortable, I can't walk any more.' She has the right to have someone wear them in [for her]."

In 2019, that staffer was revealed to be Angela Kelly, the Queen's personal assistant and senior dresser.

Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she arrives to view a display of artefacts from British craftwork company, Halcyon Days, to commemorate the company's 70th anniversary in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, on March 23, 2022 in Windsor, England.
Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images

"As has been reported a lot in the press, a flunky wears in Her Majesty's shoes to ensure that they are comfortable and that she is always good to go. And yes, I am that flunky," Kelly shared in her memoir, "The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe." "The Queen has very little time to herself and not time to wear in her own shoes, and as we share the same shoe size it makes the most sense this way."

Don't worry if you think Kelly is being a worldwide tattletale. The Queen actually gave Kelly permission to write about both her work designing for the royal family and even breaking in the shoes.

Luckily for Kelly, the shoes were usually made by Anello & Davide, a high-end, bespoke shoe company that has been a favorite of the Queen's for more than 50 years.

Fear not if you don't have a personal shoe-wearer. You can always order a shoe stretcher on Amazon for $24 and live like royalty, too.

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