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The King, the Hosk and the Shoes (Image: Archi Banal)
The King, the Hosk and the Shoes (Image: Archi Banal)

MediaMay 5, 2023

Mike Hosking thinks he just bought the king’s coronation shoes. Really?

The King, the Hosk and the Shoes (Image: Archi Banal)
The King, the Hosk and the Shoes (Image: Archi Banal)

The ZB broadcaster was apparently told he’d be wearing the same shoes as the king to tomorrow’s coronation before making a $4000+ purchase. Hmm.

Mike Hosking has been living his best life in London. The Newstalk ZB broadcaster and proud monarchist has spent the better part of a fortnight in the city ahead of this weekend’s coronation, and just recently learned he’d be the sole representative of New Zealand’s media inside Westminster Abbey tomorrow night. 

But, having seemingly only packed a suitcase full of expensive distressed denim for the trip to attend the coronation of King Charles III, Hosking first had to go and get decked out for the occasion. 

Overnight, his wife and fellow ZB host Kate Hawkesby shared a series of Instagram posts detailing the special shoes her husband had picked out.

“Mike spots an English bespoke shoemaker and says let’s go have a look,” Hawkesby wrote. “I spotted these handmade shoes and said ‘wow these are incredible’.” 

Then: “Salesman explains these are the shoes the King is wearing to the Coronation. This is a sample they made of them but there’s one and only in one size… they fit like a glove.”

The shoes now owned by Mike Hosking (Image: Kate Hawkesby / Instagram)

On Newstalk ZB this morning, Hawkesby made her beliefs crystal clear. “That is King Charles’ coronation shoe… They will both be in the same shoes for the coronation,” she said, with Hosking then admitting they cost over $4,000 (or “more than [a] Suzuki Swift”).

And so, according to the broadcasting duo and a subsequent piece on the Herald, Mike Hosking will be wearing the exact same shoes as King Charles on Saturday night (minus a “gold royal buckle”). Or will he?

Having been the victim of an upsell or two in the past myself, this too-good-to-be-true shoe story left me a little suspicious. Had Hosking really stumbled upon some truly two-of-a-kind royal footwear? Or had a crafty shop attendant spotted a naïve New Zealander from a mile away, and recognised the potential for an easy – and expensive – sale? 

Let’s assess the facts.

King Charles has a history with this particular shoemaker

The shoes purchased by Hosking were made by an upmarket shoe manufacturer called Gaziano & Girling. In 2019, Charles, then Prince of Wales, visited the company’s factory for a TV special. “It was a great experience and the prince is really super interested in craftsmanship and bringing young people into these forgotten arts,” said Tony Gaziano.

King Charles owns shoes made by Gaziano & Girling

During that 2019 tour, Gaziano & Girling said they would make a special pair of shoes for the then-prince. “The model we chose was our most iconic, the St. James, however, we chose to develop a new classic round toe… and we decided to add a medallion that represented the Prince of Wales feathers. It turned out to be a beautiful shoe.”

The St. James shoe looks a lot like the one Mike Hosking bought

Here’s a photo of the custom made shoes from 2019:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Gaziano Girling (@gazianogirling)

But King Charles is reportedly wearing ‘slippers’ to the coronation

According to the Daily Mail, Gaziano & Girling will indeed be handling the king’s footwear for the coronation. However, it’s been reported they will be creating special slippers – dubbed “opera pumps” – for the king. “Made completely by hand, they have been crafted in Northampton using Swiss calf leather. The sole leather comes from a tannery in Devon that uses ancient methods.”

And the coronation slippers have a bow on them

In a piece titled “Kettering shoes fit for a King”, the Northamptonshire Telegraph has provided further details on the coronation kicks. “Gracing the royal feet at the event in Westminister [sic] Abbey will be a pair of bow pumps,” the outlet reported. 

“Gaziano & Girling were asked to adapt a pair they had already made by adding buckles to the veal-calf patent leather bespoke ‘Lancaster’ design.”

Here is what the Lancaster shoe – sans buckles – looks like. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Gaziano Girling (@gazianogirling)

Ruling

The difference between the shoes bought by Mike Hosking and the Lancaster slipper reportedly being worn by King Charles at his coronation could hardly be more stark. Based on this evidence it appears Hosking and/or his audience may have been slightly misled.

We won’t know for sure until the king arrives for his coronation. This could turn out to be a modern day Cinderella story after all. Or it could be a story about a man being talked into buying a $4,000 pair of shoes by a masterful salesman.

Keep going!