A Brief History Of Queen Elizabeth II And Her 89 Year Long Royal Clan Of Corgis

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It comes as no surprise that most dog lovers envy their precious pals and the somewhat relaxing life they lead. And while we all secretly envy how much downtime our favourite pups enjoy, there’s a certain canine that has the best life of them all—Queen Elizabeth’s corgis.

They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but they’re also a Queen’s. And as any fan of The Crown would know, Queen Elizabeth has quite the penchant for Corgis, having owned one since the tender age of 10.

Having owned at least 30 corgis and dorgis—a mix between a corgi and a dachshund— since she became Queen, Her Majesty looked to house her favourite canine companion for years to come.

With the tragic passing of Queen Elizabeth II, it is only fitting that we pay tribute to the royal pups that have come and gone through the Palace doors for the last 89 years—and what will happen to her remaining dogs now that she is no longer with us.

Below, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Queen Elizabeth II’s corgi clan.

King George VI brought first Corgi, named Dookie, into the House of Windsor in 1933

Queen Elizabeth Dogs

The House of Windsor welcomed their first corgi in 1933, when King George VI brought home a puppy called Dookie for his family. The arrival of Dookie launched Queen Elizabeth’s obsession with the breed from the age of seven to current day. Thought to be named after her father, the Duke of York at the time, Dookie would be the first of over 30 corgis the queen has owned during her lifetime.

Dookie was followed shortly by another corgi called Jane who stayed with the family until 1944

Queen Elizabeth Dogs
Queen Elizabeth Dogs

Dookie was soon joined by Jane, yet another corgi, who was with the royal family until 1944, when she was fatally struck by a car.

Queen Elizabeth was gifted another corgi, called Susan, who she took with her on her honeymoon with Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth dogs

On her 18th birthday, Queen Elizabeth was gifted something rather special. You guessed it, another corgi, but this one’s name was Susan. For the next decade, the two were inseparable, with Susan even joining Her Majesty and Prince Philip on their honeymoon in 1947, according to Vanity Fair.

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.”

Thanks to Susan, the Royal Family used her lineage to breed corgis for the next 80 years.

Queen Elizabeth Dogs

The Royal Collection trust says that every corgi she went on to breed were descendants of this OG dog from the ’40s. Meaning that over the nearly 80 years since the Queen and Susan met, she and her family have bred dogs from Susan’s lineage. Thanks to her, Queen Elizabeth has owned at least 30 Pembroke Welsh corgis, all of whom have descended from the pooch. 

Queen Elizabeth chose to stop breeding corgis after her mother passed away in 2002

Queen Elizabeth Dogs

The last of her short-legged pups was Willow, who was believed to be part of the 14th generation in the line. However, Willow’s death would signal the end of an era for the Queen, who reportedly stopped breeding corgis sometime after the death of her mother, The Queen Mother, in 2002.

In 2015, Monty Roberts, a horse trainer who advised Queen Elizabeth, told Vanity Fair that the Queen told him in 2012 that she chose to stop breeding her pups as “she didn’t want to leave any young dog behind” after she dies.

Her dogs have their own quarters and a personal chef at the Palace

Queen Elizabeth Dogs

If living under the Palace roof wasn’t enviable enough, the Queen’s dogs also have their own special room, where they get to dine on meals prepared by their own personal chef and have their own stockings at Christmas. 

Given an upbringing to rival our own, their gourmet chef serves up feasts of beef and rabbit. The dogs also kip in a ‘corgi room’ where their baskets are elevated from the floor to avoid any drafts.

Queen Elizabeth Dogs

Her dogs have apparently bit Palace staff with one member spiking their food and water in retaliation

Queen Elizabeth Dogs

Despite the never-ending presence of animals, the corgis’ time with in the Palace has not been without incident. 

In 1954, one of the queen’s corgis bit a member of the Queen’s Guard. The International Herald Tribune reported that one of them, believed to be Susan, had also bitten the royal clockwinder.

Fourteen years later, a member of Parliament called upon the royal family to post “Beware of the Dog” signs outside the queen’s residences after one of the corgis bit a postal worker while delivering mail to Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

And in 1991, the Queen herself was bitten by one of her dogs after she tried to break up a fight between some of them, Reuters reported.

Not long after, in 1999, a royal footman was demoted after he allegedly spiked the dogs’ food and water with gin and whiskey. He was reportedly caught when an exam on one of the dogs found traces of alcohol in its blood.

They also bark so often that Prince William and Prince Harry have publicly spoken about it

Queen Elizabeth dogs

Not every member of the royal family has shared the queen’s enthusiasm for her fleet of pooches. In a television interview in 2012, Prince William expressed some of his personal issues with her dogs.

“They’re barking all the time,” he said. “I don’t know how she copes with it.”

Prince Harry, his brother, has also spoke up, saying. “I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at,” he told the BBC in 2017.

However, one person did receive the dogs’ tick of approval—Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle.

In the same BBC interview, Harry commented that the dogs “took to [Markle] straight away.”

“That’s true,” Ms. Markle replied.

Queen Elizabeth built a personal cemetery for her pups that have passed

Queen Elizabeth Dogs

Apparently, Queen Elizabeth has a “corgi graveyard” at her Sandringham Estate, where every royal pet has been buried since Queen Victoria’s dog, Noble, passed away in 1887.

Queen Elizabeth 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. 

According to Grazia, the rest of her canine clan included , Candy, Honey, Spick, Span, Whisky, Sherry, Cider, Monty, Heather, Willow, and Tiny.

One of her purebred Corgis passed away in 2018

Back in 2018, Queen Elizabeth’s purebred corgi, Willow, passed away. Along with Willow, the Queen’s second-last dog, a dorgi named Vulcan, also passed away in 2020. 

It is believed that Her Majesty had approximately five dogs, two corgis named Muick and Sandy, a Dordi named Candy and two Cocker Spaniels. While there is currently no known plan for what will happen to her dogs, it is likely that they will go to her children: Charles, Anne, Edward and Andrew.

“I imagine the dogs would be looked after by the family,” royal biographer, Ingrid Seward told Newsweek“Probably Andrew [as] he’s the one that gave them to her, they’re quite young, the corgi and the dorgi.”

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