Prince Philip, a symbol of wealth and royalty the world over, reportedly maintained the same pair of black dress shoes decades after wearing them to his 1947 marriage to then Princess, now Queen, Elizabeth.
Karan Bilimoria, a long-time friend of the Duke of Edinburgh and president of the Confederation of British Industry, revealed this intriguing piece of trivia to the Daily Mail in an interview following the prince’s death earlier this month.
Bilimoria said he came to learn about the late Duke’s shoe habits in 2011 at an event he had invited the royal consort to at London’s Zoroastrian Centre. Like other visitors, Prince Philip had obliged when asked to remove his shoes. After the day’s speeches and lunch, Bilimoria found himself sitting next to prince as they slipped their shoes back on.
“We were next to each other and tying up our laces when he told me that those were the same shoes from his wedding day,” Bilimoria told Daily Mail. “It was amazing.”
Bilimoria attributed this to Prince Philip’s sentimentality. “It was that genuineness which was ever present,” he said.
“Who knows how many times they would have been re-soled or repaired? But they were the original shoes. They were traditional black leather shoes. He had had those shoes literally for more than 60 years.”
Prince Philip passed away April 9. The royal family held a small, socially distanced funeral on Friday. According to Deadline, more than 13 million U.K. viewers watched the event.
Whether out of sentimentality or not, Prince Philip’s dedication to a singular pair of shoes shows that buying less need not be seen as a tool of the thrifty. Alex Gamboa Grand, the co-founder of the online, eco-friendly marketplace Good Intent, highlighted the importance of consuming less earlier this month in a panel discussion on sustainability.
“Using what you already have, that’s the most sustainable thing, consuming less, buying fewer new things, especially if they’re things that you don’t really need,” she said.
Allen Edmonds has operated a program designed to extend the lives of dress footwear for more than three decades. According to Keith Duplain, Caleres’ president, St. Louis Branded Portfolio, the Recrafting initiative refurbishes 55,000 to 75,000 pairs of shoes per year. He noted that most shoes can be recrafted twice, with some able to go through the process a third time on rare occasions.