People around the world are mourning the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died last week at the age of 96. The UK’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, The Queen was on the throne for 70 years, and was respected as a beacon of stability for Britain throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Queen Elizabeth II was many things to many people, but one thing we love about her was her love for animals. Perhaps the most famous dog owner in the world, Elizabeth II was especially known for her love for corgis.
The Queen’s corgis were an iconic part of her life for decades, a source of comfort during times of personal and political difficulties. The adorable dogs also delighted fans around the world.
After the Queen’s passing last week, many people wondered what would become of her beloved dogs — but thankfully, they will be staying in the family.
A lifelong love of dogs
Corgis have been a big part of Elizabeth’s life, even before her reign as queen. The royals first got a Corgi in 1933, when Elizabeth’s father and predecessor, George VI (though he was Duke of York at the time) brought home a dog named Dookie.
According to BBC, Dookie was actually quite temperamental, but Elizabeth seemed to have a special bond with him.
The Queen then got a Pembroke Welsh corgi of her own, named Susan, for her 18th birthday.
According to BBC, Susan gatecrashed the wedding of the Queen and her husband Prince Philip by sneaking beneath a rug in the royal carriage.
Susan died in 1959, at nearly 15 years old. She was buried at Sandringham House, a royal estate, and her epitaph called her “the faithful companion of the Queen.”
“I had always dreaded losing her, but I am ever so thankful that her suffering was so mercifully short,” the Queen wrote.
But Susan left quite a legacy: over the next few decades, the Queen owned more than 30 corgis, all descendants of her first dog.
From 1933 to 2018, the Queen always owned at least one corgi, and frequently owned many at a time. She took the dogs with her on her travels, and they lived in a special “Corgi room” in Buckingham Palace where they slept in wicker beds. The Queen cared for them herself, and reportedly made them biscuits at Christmastime.
These dogs certainly got the royal treatment, and became an iconic part of the Queen’s image throughout her life.
Prince Philip was reportedly less fond of the dogs, but for Elizabeth they were an important part of her life. Like so many people, she found a lot of comfort in the dogs, and because they had a connection to her late father and her childhood, they were a connection to the simpler days of her youth.
“Her corgis are hugely important to her,” Royal biographer Penny Junor told the Daily Mail. “They have over the years been closer to her than any human being. The corgis are intensely loyal and loving and they have never let her down.”
And as the UK’s head of state and an emblem of Britain itself, it’s fitting that the Queen had such a connection with a distinctly British dog. Corgis originate from Wales, a neighbor of England and part of the UK. The breed was uncommon in England when they became the royal dogs, but the Queen helped popularize corgis around the world.
In addition to purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgis, the Queen also had a number of “dorgis,” which were corgis bred with daschshunds.
The corgis and dorgis received international celebrity status in 2016, when they appeared with Queen Elizabeth on the cover of Vanity Fair, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. The dogs at the time were Holly, Willow, Vulcan and Candy.
The end of the corgis
For over seven decades, the Queen owned more than 30 corgis. As they passed on, they were buried with their ancestor Susan at the “corgi graveyard” at Sandringham.
The royal family consistently bred the dogs for decades, ensuring that the Queen would always have plenty of pet dogs. However, it all came to an end in 2018 — at Queen Elizabeth’s request.
Why did she give up on her beloved corgis all of a sudden? Because, as the monarch got into her 90s, she realized she did not want to leave a young corgi pup behind after her death.
After her dorgi Vulcan died in 2018, she was left with just one remaining dog, Candy. It seemed like Candy would be the final royal corgi.
“It would be unthinkable for her not to have any,” a source told the Daily Mail. “It’s like the Tower of London not having any ravens.”
However, in 2021, Queen Elizabeth’s longtime husband Prince Philip died at the age of 99. The Queen was left heartbroken in mourning — so her family got her some new dogs to cheer her up.
Her son Prince Andrew and his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, gifted her a dorgi named Fergus and a corgi named Muick. Sadly, Fergus died suddenly of a heart defect five months later, but she received another gift corgi puppy, named Sandy, to be a companion to Muick in June 2021.
“The puppies were brought in to cheer her up during a very difficult period,” a royal source told The Sun. “Everyone concerned is upset as this comes so soon after she lost her husband.”
What happens to the royal dogs now?
Because of their international fame, and the fact that the Queen was so concerned about the royal corgis outliving her, the fate of the royal dogs has been one of the big questions following Queen Elizabeth’s death.
But rest assured, the dogs are reportedly staying in the family. Prince Andrew and his former wife Sarah Ferguson — the Duke and Duchess of York — will be taking in Muick and Sandy. According to the New York Times, the dogs will be well taken care of at their country estate, the Royal Lodge in Windsor.
It hasn’t been reported yet what will happen to Candy, the last of the Queen’s bred corgis, and Lissy, her cocker spaniel. But we are sure these royal dogs will continue to be well taken care of, and probably adopted by one of Elizabeth’s relatives.
Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II. We know all your beloved pet dogs are up there waiting for you ❤️
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