When it comes to custom-made shoes, nothing quite beats the gold and ruby heels worn by Princess Elizabeth on the day she was crowned Queen

By Monique Jessen
June 02, 2020 11:40 AM
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For her coronation 67 years ago, Princess Elizabeth really did wear shoes fit for a Queen.

On June 2, 1953, the 27-year-old was crowned Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey — and she did so wearing the most ornate shoes that were adorned in real rubies.

The bespoke shoes, designed by French shoemaker Roger Vivier, were the perfect finishing touch to an exquisite and regal look by the Queen for one of the most important moments in her life. Wearing a white satin gown with intricate gold and silver embroidery designed by Norman Hartnell, a purple silk velvet robe trimmed with ermine fur, embroidered in gold and no less than three diadems — it was certainly a fashion moment to remember.

Queen Elizabeth
The Print Collector/Getty

While they are tricky to spot in most of the historic photos, the shoes were actually a collaboration between Roger Vivier and the British shoemakers Delman Ltd. Made in the softest gold leather with the heels covered in rubies, the design was kept secret until the big day. Inspired by the rose windows of the Chartres Cathedral in France, Vivier incorporated a fleur-de-lys motif to match the Imperial State Crown, which the Queen wore to return to Buckingham Palace later that day.

Queen Elizabeth on her Coronation Day, June 2, 1953
Central Press/Getty
Roger Vivier's original design for the Queen's Coronation shoes
Roger Vivier

To celebrate the anniversary, the royal-designed shoes have been reimagined for the modern-day by Gherardo Felloni, the brand’s current creative director. The "Vivier Queen Sandal" was unveiled at the designer’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection last September. Available in pink, black and the original gold color, the sandal retails for approximately $1,995, giving fans of the Queen a rare chance to own a piece of royal history.

The French brand might have seemed an unlikely choice by the Queen for her coronation, but the monarch was actually following a tradition set by her mother, who also wore Roger Vivier shoes to the coronation of her husband King George in 1937. Just like her mother’s shoes, the Queen's also had a secret design feature to help her stay comfortable during the three-hour ceremony, which was attended by 8,251 people and watched by 27 million viewers in the U.K. alone. The Queen asked the designer to insert an invisible platform for extra comfort as she knew she would be standing for most of the service.

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Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Philip
Hulton Archive/Getty

While it’s not known what has become of the gold shoes as they have been never been exhibited since the coronation day — the stunning dress, which was sketched eight times before the Queen gave Hartnell her nod of approval, has been worn six times since the historical day, including the Opening of Parliament in 1954.