Queen Elizabeth loved her corgis, the short-legged herding dog breed that Diana, Princess of Wales, famously called the Queen’s “moving carpet” because they accompanied her everywhere.
Over the years, she owned more than 30 of them, as well as “dorgis,” crossbreeds of dachshunds and corgis, and cocker spaniels.
Elizabeth was photographed hugging a corgi as far back as 1936 at age 10, the breed being introduced to the Royal Family by her father, King George VI, in 1933, when he bought a male corgi called Dookie from a local kennel.
The famous matriarch of the royal line of corgis is Susan, who was given to Elizabeth on her 18th birthday. Susan was born on the Feb. 20, 1944, and was buried the pet cemetery at Sandringham after her death in 1959.
From her, 15 generations of royal corgis were born, ending with Willow, the Queen’s last corgi, the BCC reports. The Scotsman reported in 2015 that Elizabeth stopped breeding new dogs because, “as she gets older, she fears tripping over the small dogs, leaving her with a serious injury.”
In 2004, The Globe and Mail reported that a sketch made by the Queen more than 40 years prior of a planned gravestone for Susan was withdrawn from auction after royal officials challenged the owner’s right to sell it. The papers were going to be auctioned off in Shropshire, England, with a starting price of £300 ($720).
The Queen spent most of her reign accompanied by her corgis, which earned a reputation for snapping at the heels of royal retainers. Matthew Dennison, a biographer of the Queen, says her love of corgis is one of the few things we actually know about the monarch.
“We know that she enjoys racing. We know that she likes corgis. We know that she prefers blankets and sheets to duvets. But beyond that, we know almost nothing about her.”
This love was documented in detail in Penny Junor’s 2018 book, All The Queen’s Corgis.
The Queen’s corgis made headlines in 1989, when an 86-year-old woman bequeathed $32,000 to the royal pets before her death in March of that year. The woman’s son asked a court to declare that she was unstable when she made the decision. ‘’I’m sure the Queen, as the richest woman in the world, or her dogs, don’t need any assistance from my family,’’ he told reporters.
The woman’s lawyer said she left cash to the corgis from the sale of her home simply because she loved dogs.
In 2003, the corgis made the news again, when The Sun tabloid reported that Pharos the corgi was injured in an altercation with Dotty, Princess Anne’s bull terrier, at the Royal Family’s Sandringham estate. The corgi was treated by royal vets for leg injuries but had to be put down, the newspaper said.
At the time of her death, it is believed the Queen had two corgis named Muick and Sandy, a dorgi called Candy, and at least one cocker spaniel, named Lissy. There is no official plan for the fate of the dogs, but before news of the Queen’s death, royal biographer Ingrid Seward told Newsweek, “I imagine the dogs would be looked after by the family, probably Andrew [as] he’s the one that gave them to her, they’re quite young, the corgi and the dorgi.”
With reports from The Associated Press, Reuters, The Globe and Mail archive