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The Queen and her Corgis in pictures

Queen Elizabeth's history of devotion to her corgis

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Queen Elizabeth II owned dozens of Welsh corgis and was regularly seen with them loyally by her side. Upon her death, Her Majesty had two Pembroke Welsh corgis, Muick and Sandy, one dorgi (a dachshund-corgi cross) called Candy and a cocker spaniel, Lissy, who was welcomed into the royal home earlier this year. Her Majesty’s corgis will now reportedly be looked after by her second son Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. It is unknown where Lissy will be homed, while Candy sadly died just before the Queen herself. 

The royal corgis, as they became known, were formerly owned by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). Then-Princess Elizabeth’s fondness for the breed began in childhood and on her 18th birthday, the young royal was gifted her first corgi — Susan. 

It is believed that many of the Queen’s corgis were descendants of her dear Susan. While the Queen has never given the reason for her love for corgis, it could be significant that she received her first as a gift from her parents. 

A young Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret were reportedly enamoured with the corgis owned by the Marquess of Bath. When the Princesses visited his home, the royals fell in love with the companionable pups. George VI and Queen Elizabeth then owned their own corgi, Dookie, who was brought home when Princess Elizabeth was just seven years old. 

Now, Express.co.uk looks back at the Queen and her beloved corgis over the years. 

Dookie was the first of many Welsh corgis owned by the Royal Family. It has been reported that the Queen Mother picked Dookie out because of his slightly longer tail, remarking: “so that we can see whether he is pleased or not.”

According to the Royal Collection Trust: “Dookie, officially named Rozavel Golden Eagle, acquired his nickname when he was sent away to be trained. The staff, aware that the dog was destined for the household of the Duke of York, began to refer to him as Dookie. When the dog returned to his new family it became clear that he only responded to his new nickname, so it stayed with him.”

Then, in 1937, when Elizabeth was 11 years old, another corgi was welcomed to the family — Jane. A Sydney Morning Herald article at the time read: “The King and Queen and their children are all extremely fond of dogs, and much of the Princesses’ leisure is taken up with their pets. The favourites are the two Welsh corgis, who answer to the names of Dookie and Jane. It is the children’s own job to see that they are brushed and exercised.”

The other royal dogs included golden labradors, a Tibetan Mastiff, a golden retriever and a cocker spaniel.

In 1940, Elizabeth and Margaret were evacuated to Windsor Castle as German bombings destroyed the capital. And, of course, their corgis went with them. 

By this point, Dookie had sadly died, but Jane had a puppy named Crackers. Tragically, Jane died a few years later, in 1944. It was this year that Elizabeth was given her first very own corgi — Susan. 

Susan was Elizabeth’s constant companion for several years and even accompanied the Princess on her and Prince Philip’s honeymoon in 1947. 

The newlyweds honeymooned at the Broadlands estate in Hampshire, before travelling up north to Scotland.

Elizabeth and Philip returned to Balmoral in 1952, for their first summer stay since the Princess became Queen.

Photos show the new monarch with her two children — Prince Charles (now King Charles III) and Princess Anne. 

Throughout the entire 70-year reign, the Queen retired to Balmoral Castle — the Royal Family’s Scottish estate — for an extended summer holiday.

It was known to be one of the monarch’s favourite places and was particularly special for her and the Duke of Edinburgh. 

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After several years of being by the Queen’s side, Susan died at Sandringham in January 1959. She was buried on the property in the pet cemetery started by Queen Victoria. 

Initially, the gravestone read “Susan / died 26 Jan 1959 / for 15 years the faithful companion of the Queen,” until the monarch realised the birthdate was incorrect, so it was adjusted to read “for almost 15 years.”

Susan’s family tree reveals more than 60 offspring, each named by the Queen. Most were kept by the monarch, but some were given to friends and members of the family. 

The Queen was recorded as once saying: “My corgis are my family”. 

The corgis lived the high life in Buckingham Palace and even had their own designated room — the “corgi room”. According to reports, they slept in wicker baskets and dined on steak and chicken.

They also travelled with the monarch, who was often moving between her royal residences in the UK and going on international trips across the globe. 

In 2015, royal dog trainer Dr Roger Mugford told Town & Country: “The dogs sleep in the home with the royal family, and they certainly are well-fed. The context and content of their meals is very important to Her Majesty, who tailors what they are fed to their age, clinical needs, and so on.

“The Queen is a great believer in homoeopathy and herbal medicines, and each dog has a unique menu. Eight exotic porcelain bowls are carried in by a butler, each for a particular dog. Eight dogs are arranged in a semi-circle to sit and wait to be given their meal bowls.

“It’s all disciplined and well-organised by Her Majesty; few other owners can exert such control over their dogs to ‘wait’ for their food in turn.”

While the Queen’s love for her corgis was well-known, not everyone in the Palace shared her adoration. In fact, Prince Philip was not so keen on the small dogs. 

He was often heard declaring: “Bloody dogs. Why do you have so many?” 

However, the corgis were not going anywhere and remained by Her Majesty’s side, and Philip’s, throughout both of their lives. 

Ingrid Seward told Newsweek earlier this month: “She loves animals and she absolutely adores dogs. She always has done, they were her first love and they will be her last.”

In 2012, the Queen decided to stop breeding corgis. Monty Roberts, an informal advisor to the monarch on dog training, recalled to Vanity Fair: “She didn’t want to have any more young dogs. She didn’t want to leave any young dog behind. She wanted to put an end to it.”

In April 2018, her corgi named Willow died — the last of Susan’s descendants. A possible reason for Her Majesty’s decision to stop breeding corgis was because none of her children took to the breed the way that she did. Charles and his wife Queen Camilla have a preference for Jack Russells, and Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales have a black cocker spaniel — Orla. 

Of his grandmother’s corgis, the Prince of Wales said: “They’re barking all the time. I don’t know how she copes with it.” 

In the final years of her life, the Queen’s corgis were rarely seen. On the odd occasion, they were spotted at the feet of Her Majesty as she held audiences with world leaders, but their public appearances lessened as the monarch grew older. 

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth, on September 8, William assured members of the public that his granny’s corgis would be well-looked after. 

During a surprise visit on Saturday to mourners waiting in the queue to see the monarch’s coffin lying in state, the Prince of Wales spoke with one fan who had questions about the late Queen’s famous dogs.

The Prince was quick to reassure the fan that they are in excellent care, saying: “I saw them the other day, that got me quite sad. They are going to be looked after fine.

“They are two very friendly corgis, so they’ve got a good home. They’ll be looked after very well. Spoiled rotten, I’m sure.”

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