Throughout a historic reign that spanned decades, a constant in the Queen’s life has always been her unwavering love for her Corgis, so much so that the pets have become a symbol of British royalty around the world.
It was announced yesterday that the Queen, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, has died at the age of 96. She will be remembered as a dutiful monarch who put the country above her own needs and rarely showed her softer side.
That side, however, was never more visible than when the Sovereign was in the company of her Corgis.
Indeed, her lifelong devotion to her beloved pets helped her show a more candid side of the world, even writing “wickedly funny” letters from her corgis to Jack Russells that belonged to her former equerry Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson.
The world has come to associate the queen with Corgis and the pet, and it seems the monarch himself got the joke.
The Queen’s love for Corgis goes back to her childhood, when her… King George VI’s father bought Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister Princess Margaret a Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi when she was seven.
King George brought home one named Dookie for her and Princess Margaret, after they played and fell in love with Viscount Weymouth’s very own Corgi.
The King and Queen Mother tried to breed Dookie, and a few years later he had two puppies with another mate, named Crackers and Carol.
Susan arrived in 1944 for the Queen’s 18th birthday and they soon became inseparable.
The Queen loved Susan so much that she honeymooned with the monarch and Prince Philip in 1947.
When the Queen gave birth to Prince Charles, newspaper columns were full of advice on how to keep Susan from becoming jealous of the young prince, Kay claimed.
Susan soon started her won Corgi dynasty, with Sugar, who was Prince Charles, and Honey, who went to the Queen Mother.
The Queens love for the breed quickly became one of the things she was most famous for around the world.
Her Majesty owned more than 30 dogs over the years. Her last, which were bought in 2021, would have been gifts.
During her reign, she was photographed everywhere with the animals.
The loyal pets would accompany her on her royal journeys, with royal assistants taking care of all their needs and carrying them on and off planes.
Her love for Corgis was so well known that even the Royal Collection started selling Corgi-shaped Christmas decorations, recognizing her fondness for the breed.
Queen Elizabeth II also owned several Dorgis throughout her life, which are a cross between a Dachshund and a Corgi.
Her beloved pet Vulcan, who passed away in 2020, was a Dorgi.
She gave birth to two new Corgis in March 2021, but one of the puppies named Fergus died months later in May, leaving the Monarch distraught.
In June, she got a new Dorgi puppy to cheer her up, which was gifted to her by Prince Andrew and his two daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.
The monarch’s beloved Corgis lived luxurious lives that few pets can pretend to know.
While at Buckingham Palace, the dogs slept in raised wicker baskets in a special trunk near the royal chambers, where they roam freely.
Royal biographer Brian Hoey claimed in 2013 that the dogs ate at Buckingham Palace every day at 5pm sharp, in his book Pets by Royal Appointment.
It was reported that the puppies were fed a deluxe diet of fillet steak and chicken breast cooked by a chef.
The carefully prepared meals were then delivered by a footman and covered in gravy poured by the monarch himself.
The dogs never ate canned food and were even given homeopathic remedies when sick, Hoey said.
Hoey said the Queen had a very hands-on approach to all aspects of her dogs’ lives. As a child, she and Princess Margaret hand fed their pet Corgi from a bowl, he said.
She had also apparently joked that when breeding the dogs with Dachshunds, she helped them by ‘putting them on a rock’ because they have shorter legs.
The Royal Family is known for its fondness for dogs, but Mr Hoey claimed the Duke of Edinburgh “abhorred” Corgis for yapping too much. He preferred Labradors.
In 2018, Richard Kay revealed that each of the Queen’s Corgis was buried at her royal estate.
The actual funeral was performed by Her Majesty’s head gardener, while she oversaw the sad moment.
Each of her beloved pups was also given a headstone to commemorate their lives as loyal royal companions.
Inscribed on it are the dog’s birth and death dates, along with the touching epitaph: ‘The Queen’s faithful companion for nearly 15 years,’ Kay said.
He added that the puppies were all buried on the estate where they died, and that their final resting places were quiet places special to the Queen.
After filming the ITV documentary The Queen and her Cousins last year to mark the Queen’s 95th birthday, TV presenter Alexander Armstrong revealed that the Queen wrote ‘wickedly funny’ letters from her corgis to former equerry Sir Blair. Stewart-Wilson.
Armstrong told the Telegraph at the time, “He would write these letters from their Jack Russell to the Corgis and the Queen would write these letters back.”
He said he saw one of the framed letters hanging by Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson’s home and left it “crying with laughter.”
The Pointless presenter said he couldn’t remember the exact contents of the letters, but said it showed the Monarch had a great sense of humor.
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson was the Queen’s groomsman and Deputy Head of Household in the Royal House from 1976 to 1994.
Kay said Sandringham was the largest animal cemetery and was established by Queen Victoria for her Collie Noble, who died in 1887, and where Susan was buried more than 70 years later.
One of the last released photos of the Queen, celebrating her anniversary in February, showed her continued love for her dogs.
In the photos, she can be seen beaming looking at cards from benefactors before bending over to pet her dog Candy.
Candy, a Dorgi, toured the room and inspected a small group of media representatives who were documenting the viewing.
The queen said, ‘And where are you from? I know what you want,” which probably referred to a treat. Then she called Candy to her to make a fuss about her.
As she celebrated her platinum anniversary in June, the Corgis were the center of entertainment, with commemorative items and decorations around Buckingham Palace being shared like her four-legged pets.
Cuddly versions of the breed, native to Pembrokeshire, and Corgi-shaped Christmas ornaments have also been sold by the Royal Collection store.