When it comes to our beloved dogs, we would undoubtedly provide them with the best we can. While every dog parent secretly envies the relaxing lives of their furry pals, there are certain canines that have the best life of them all, Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis. Of course, the best gift for such loyalty has to be royalty. Well, it’s no secret that Her Majesty is not only a dog-lover, but also has a fondness for corgis. The Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi, an obviously cute dwarf-dog with a fluffy peach-butt, has always been well associated with the Queen as the Buckingham Palace itself. So, when did the 94-year-old Queen’s love for corgis begin, and how many does she have now?
Table of Contents
1. The First Royal Corgi
So the story goes, the Queen’s love of corgis shoots from her childhood. At the age of seven, the little Queen fell in love at the first sight of the Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi owned by the children of the Marquess of Bath. It was in 1933 when the Queen’s father, King George VI had brought home Dookie – The First Royal Corgi. Interestingly, the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret chose Dookie, the lucky one, from a litter of three. Dookie got his name from his original owner, Thelma Gray, who called the little pup ‘the Duke’ after he had been selected to join the Royal Family. The arrival of Dookie inaugurated the Queen’s obsession with the breed, right from the age of seven to the current day.
A beautiful photograph from George VI’s photo album shows a seven-year-old young Queen Elizabeth and her sister with Dookie. It is said that, Queen Elizabeth and her sister would lovingly feed Dookie by hand from a dish held by an attendant.
2. Jane- The Royal Corgi
Dookie was soon joined by Her Majesty’s another favourite corgi, Jane. Elizabeth II’s mother, at that time Queen, presented a disciplined regimen for the corgis. The corgis slept in each of their own wicker baskets, and luxurious meals were served for each dog in its own dish. Jane was with the royal family until 1944, when she was fatally struck by a car. Jane was very much missed and mourned by the Queen. I would like to draw your attention that, Jane was the First Female Royal Corgi, so if she had been alive, she would have been the origin of the future generations of the Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis for the next 80 years.
3. The Queen’s 18th Birthday Gift
Queen Elizabeth was gifted something very dear and special on her 18th birthday. Any guesses? That’s right, another corgi! Susan, a corgi puppy joined the royal family in 1944, and she is the corgi from whom the Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis are said to be descended. To put it in easy words, Susan was the start of what would become a dog dynasty. Susan was even seen with Her Majesty and Prince Philip on their honeymoon in 1947, according to reports. The Manchester Guardian captured this scene as the newlyweds boarded the train to the Broadlands, Philip’s uncle’s estate: “The ginger-coloured corgi jumped out before the royal couple and was taken by Palace attendants into the train.”
4. Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis
Thanks to Susan, The Royal Palace has its own royal collection of corgis. Between the years 1933 – 2021, Her Majesty has owned over 30 corgis. The amount of corgis Her Majesty had owned at one time has fluctuated—a picture from the 1970s shows her with seven corgis, and in 2012, there were at least five. At one point of time, there were ninecorgis who would follow her all around Buckingham Palace. Of course, they have had a variety of fancy names: Carol, Crackers, Ranger, Sugar, Smoky, Monty, Holly, Linnet, Emma, Tiny and Willow are a few of the corgis. Pictured with the royal family, the corgi Sugar made the cover of The Australian Women’s Weekly on 10 June 1959.
5. Corgis and Dorgis
Queen Elizabeth has had ‘dorgis’, the cute as ever corgi-dachshund designer mix you probably didn’t know was a thing. If Corgis are tiny foxes, then Dorgis are like little sausage surprises. Well, decades ago, Her Majesty went on to create the ‘dorgi’, after cross breeding her Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi – ‘Tiny’ with her sister Margaret’s Dachshund, Pipkin. Dorgis have been a part of the royal clan of canines for years, with the dreamy names: Tinker, Pickles, Chipper, Piper, Harris, Brandy, Berry, Cider, Candy, and Vulcan. Her Majesty was spotted in a chronicled photo dating back to 1976 with her pet dorgi.
So, perhaps the Queen has a mutual love for both corgis and dorgis, It is reported that the Queen chose to stop breeding corgis after her mother passed away in 2002. Currently, The Queen has two corgis and one dorgi– the eldest of all being a dorgi, who is dearly called Candy.
6. The Silver Platter
Never did I think that I will say this for DOGS – Born with a silver spoon! Well, it’s Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis that we’re talking about, whose diet get approved by veterinary experts. No, there are no tidbits from the royal table, instead, the Royal Dogs have their own menu and gourmet chef who serves up feasts of beef and rabbit. They also have a proprietary brand of meat dog biscuits served in the morning, while the late afternoon meal consisted of dog meal with gravy. On days of celebrations and rewards, extra biscuits are handed out to these royals. Jealous? Wait, there’s more!
7. The Corgis Quarters
If living under the Palace roof wasn’t enviable enough, the royal clan of canine also have their own special room in the Buckingham Palace. This is killing me! For decades, they have resided in a custom-made room devoted to their habitation, known as the Corgi Room, and slept in elevated wicker baskets. The Queen views her dogs as family, always trying to be the one tending to the corgis herself. Clearly, it was Her Majesty who would choose the sires of litters that were bred in her kennel. At Christmas, the Queen made stockings for her dogs, hung them in their room, and keep plenty of toys and delicacies. Adorable!
8. The Corgis Graveyard
The Royal Dogs have traditionally been buried at the royal residence. Queen Elizabeth built a personal cemetery called – “The Corgi Graveyard” for her canine companions that have died. Apparently, this graveyard is built at her Sandringham Estate, where every royal dog has been buried since Queen Victoria’s dog, Noble, passed away in 1887. Her Majesty chose to use the graveyard for the graves of her corgis after the passing of Susan, in 1959. Since then, she has used the space to bury the corgis that have passed including Sugar, who died in 1965, described as “The faithful companion of The Queen” in the inscription of her gravestone. Candy, Honey, Spick, Span, Whisky, Sherry, Cider, Monty, Heather, Willow, and Tiny have also been buried here.
9. Willow – The End of an Era
Sadly, many of The Queen’s older corgis have passed away at a good age in recent years. The Queen’s last corgi, Willow, died in August 2018. Willow’s death marked the end of an era, as he was the last purebred Royal Corgi. As a true dog guardian – The Queen adopted a corgi, Whisper, after the death of her former Sandringham games keeper Bill Fenwick. Bill and his wife Nancy, who had also passed away two-years after his death, were originally gifted Whisper by The Queen. Sadly, Whisper died after a short illness, not long after Willow. In 2020, the Queen’s second-last dog, a dorgi named Vulcan, also passed away. Losing a pet can be like losing a member of the family, but the Queen has two new family members along with Candy to help bring her comfort in the days ahead.
10. Recent Addition to The Royal Canine Family
Muick – a corgi pup and Fergus – a dorgi pup have lately joined Candy in 2021. Candy is no longer the only pup in the royal household. The two new pups came as gift to The Queen at a stressful time for the monarch, when her husband, Prince Philip was hospitalized. Though The Queen is witnessing sorrow, we’re sure Her Majesty will be lifted by two spirited puppies running around the Palace. A source reported: ‘Both are said to be bringing in a lot of noise and energy into Windsor Castle.”
Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis have always been Royal Celebrities. They have had a number of items dedicated to them, in particular ‘The Queen Mother Memorial’ statue. The grand bronze artwork made by Paul Day, shows her with two corgis. The Queen’s copper coin issued during her Golden Jubilee year, shows the Queen with a corgi. Monty, Willow, and Holly were seen in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony when, Daniel Craig (the James Bond actor) arrived at Buckingham Palace to escort the Queen to the event. The Royal Corgis are the characters of an animated comedy film, called The Queen’s Corgi, which was released in the UK in July 2019. Finally, I have an answer to the question – ‘If you could choose, what would you want to be in your next life ?’
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