During her time as a royal, Princess Diana became a style icon. Her formal gowns and casual everyday elegance became a nice distraction from the awkward relationship she had with Prince Charles.
But if you looked closely, you’d realize that while she wore everything from pumps to flats and Converse, she never wore one specific type of shoe.
As author Diane Clehane details for Best Life, while researching her book, Diana: The Secrets of Her Style, she combed through literally thousands of photographs of the Princess to select the images featured in its pages, “and I did not find one photograph of the princess wearing open-toed shoes or sandals.” Clehane says when Diana became engaged to Prince Charles in 1981, “she wore mostly modest two-inch heels so as not to tower over her husband-to-be. Once she became a royal, she wore plenty of low-heeled, brightly colored pumps that coordinated with her ‘Dynasty Di’ look of the period. And when ‘off duty,’ she favored simple flats.”
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When the couple announced they were separating, writes Clehane, there was a noticeable change in Diana’s appearance, and that included footwear. Her choice in shoes became sexier. She opted for designers like Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.
“Her favorite style was high-heel strappy shoes,” Choo told Clehane. “She liked classic styles. She never wore sandals because she did not like them and she knew the Queen didn’t either.”
Choo, who called Diana his “favorite client,” told Clehane that the Princess was always very enthusiastic. “Whenever I brought shoes to her, she would run to Paul [Burrell, her butler at the time] and say, ‘Look at these beautiful shoes Jimmy has made for me!’”
As far as Queen Elizabeth was concerned, open-toed shoes were a no-no, something Princess Di was very aware of. Said Choo, “She had beautiful legs. She sometimes chose not to wear hosiery, but never when she was appearing at an official event with the Queen. She was always very respectful of her.”
According to Clehane, Choo was planning to give Diana a pair of beige grosgrain ballerina flats the day after she was to return from her trip to Paris, something that sadly never happened. Instead, he kept them to remember her by, telling Clehane, “She was a naturally beautiful woman inside and out and a lady of great warmth, humility, and compassion. She was a dream.”