Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

Queen Elizabeth II employs a ‘flunky’ to help break in her new shoes – ‘Always good to go’

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An army of employees work for the Royal Household, helping to keep the institution up and running at all times. Some 1,200 people perform a variety of duties ranging from the well known to the downright bizarre. One of the least well known jobs on offer for those aspiring to work for the British sovereign is the one that involves breaking in the Queen’s new shoes.

Stewart Parvin told the Evening Standard in 2017 that a staffer is employed solely for the special but important task.

It involves a Royal Household employee walking around the carpeted areas of Buckingham Palace in the new pair of shoes.

Mr Parvin explained: “The shoes have to be immediately comfortable.

“The Queen can never say ‘I’m uncomfortable, I can’t walk any more.'”

More often than not the special person charged to carry out the job is the Queen’s dress maker, Angela Kelly.

Ms Kelly wrote in her book ‘The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen’: “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.”

The royal dress maker explained that, as she and the Queen share the same foot size, “it makes the most sense this way.”

No less important to her Majesty are her Swan Uppers, who help the Crown look after the nation’s swans.


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According to the Royal Family’s official website, the Crown can legally claim ownership of any unmarked mute swan in open waters.

Her Majesty restricts her stewardship of the nation’s swans to a particular stretch of the River Thames.

Every year the Swan Maker and his Uppers embark on a five-day journey upriver, during which they check on the health of any swan they come across.

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