Queen Elizabeth II died last week at the age of 96, marking the end of an era after a historic 70 years as UK’s monarch and head of state.
People in the UK and around the world have been remembering the late queen and reflecting on her life and legacy, and the power she had to impact people’s lives.
One story that is now going viral online shows the common touch the queen often had: the time when she comforted a visiting war hero with the help of her beloved corgis.
During her decades-long reign, Elizabeth II was possibly the most famous dog owner in the world: she famously had a love for corgis, and had over 30 as pets throughout her adult life.
These dogs truly got the royal treatment: they had their own “corgi room” in Buckingham Palace, slept in wicker beds, and the Queen always took them with her when she traveled.
The corgis were iconic, and delighted people around the world throughout her reign — and they made an especially big impact on one war hero who was visiting Buckingham Palace.
Dr. David Nott is a Welsh surgeon who is known for volunteering in dangerous areas like disaster and war zones, including Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Nepal and Ukraine.
He received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 in recognition for his work. But the moment came shortly after his return from Aleppo, the war-torn city in Syria, and the doctor feared he was going to succumb to emotion while meeting the Queen.
“I don’t know why it happened then, or why it should have been the Queen who breached the dam,” he wrote in his memoir War Doctor. “Perhaps it was because she is the mother of the nation, and I had lost my own mother. My bottom lip started to go and all I wanted to do was burst into tears.”
Nott was barely holding back tears during his visit with the Queen — and the monarch seemed to sense his distress, and went out of her way to comfort him in an unexpected way.
He recalls that she touched his hand, then whispered something to her courtiers. A moment later, six corgis ran into the room.
“They ran all the way around the room and they were barking and shouting, and two or three of them went under her legs,” Nott recalled while speaking at the Hay Festival.
The Queen then picked up a biscuit and broke it in two, handing half to the doctor. Nott was, at first, confused by the gift.
“I thought, ‘Do I eat it?’, and she said, ‘No, no, they’re for the dog,'” Nott said.
The two then spent 20 minutes petting and feeding the corgis, bonding over their love for dogs. By the end, it became clear that the Queen brought the dogs in as a comforting gesture, after realizing he did not want to talk about his wartime experiences.
“There, that’s so much better than talking, isn’t it?” Nott recalled the Queen asking him.
The story went viral after the Queen’s death, with many praising the anecdote as an example of the monarch’s human touch and intuition. While the Queen — like all members of the royalty — can sometimes feel foreign and out-of-touch with ordinary people, Elizabeth II understood that sometimes you just need a dog to make everything better.
Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II. We know all your beloved pet dogs are up there waiting for you ❤️
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