It has come to this. Of course, it was bound to. You see, I am rather too fond of shoes, to misquote Louisa May Alcott. Ms Alcott was too fond of books (as am I) but I think it’s the shoes that have really turned my brain.
Imagine my horror two nights ago – I was watching QI and Stephen Fry told me that Cinderella’s shoes were not made of glass but of squirrel fur! Not verre but vair. Cinderella was not wearing magical, whimsical shoes, she was wearing Ug boots. This is a crushing blow to a romantic, succoured by dreams of princes and ashes to sashays. To compensate for this sad discovery, I have gathered together photos of real princess’s shoes. Enjoy!
These are Marie Antoinette’s shoes. The ruffled ribbons are now faded but they were once bright red, blue and white. While the provenance of the shoes has been questioned, I would like to imagine the Queen slipping her dainty feet into them while nibbling on honeyed brioche. You can read all about the shoes, which recently sold for over €40 000, at Two Nerdy History Girls.
If we’re talking about princesses, I cannot leave out Lady Di. I remember watching her wedding at nursery school on the very heavy TV (using a bunny-ears aerial to receive snowy reception!). These are the shoes she wore on her wedding day. Considering it was the 80s, they are not nearly as awful as they could have been.
Lady Di’s mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II wore this lovely gold satin pair at her wedding in 1947. Isn’t it funny that the Queen’s pair is so much more flirtatious and young-at-heart than Diana’s?
And if we’re talking saucy, have a peek at the Queen Mother’s pair. Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon wore these to marry her Prince Albert in 1923.
The next pair belonged to a different sort of princess from over the Atlantic. Marilyn Monroe wore these coquettish red high-heeled pumps. Not to wed one of her three husbands but to lure them, no doubt.
My favourite pair though, is that worn by Queen Victoria at her wedding to Prince Albert. Not only are they beautiful shoes but her’s and Albert’s marriage was the stuff little girls’ dreams are made of. Victoria proposed to Albert in 1839. They married in 1840 and loved each other deeply and passionately for the rest of their lives. She had the following to say on the night of her wedding (thanks Wikipedia).
I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life.
All is right with the world again. Cinderella can keep her squirrel pumps and I’ll hang onto the image of true love’s feet resting in this be-ribboned pair instead.