How the Queen's love of Corgis became a symbol of British royalty

Her royal soft spot! How the Queen’s lifelong love of corgis stemmed from being given her first pet at just seven years old – and she owned more than 30 during her reign

  • The death of The Queen at the age of 96 was announced yesterday 
  • Her beloved and faithful cohort of Corgis and Dorgis were part of her legacy
  • The Queen got her first Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi when she was seven
  • The cheeky pets have become a symbol of British royalty around the world 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

Throughout an historic reign that spanned decades, one constant in the Queen’s life has always been her unwavering love for her Corgis, so much so the pets have become a symbol of British royalty around the world.

It was announced yesterday that the Queen, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, had died at the age of 96. She will be remembered as a dutiful monarch who put the country before her own needs and rarely showed her softer side. 

However, that side was never more on display that when the sovereign was in the company of her Corgis.  

Indeed, her lifelong commitment to her beloved pets helped her show a more candid side to the world, even writing ‘wickedly funny’ letters from her corgis to Jack Russells belonging to her former equerry Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson. 

The Queen’s love of Corgis stretches back to her childhood, when her father King George VI bought Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister Princess Margaret a Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi when she was seven. Pictured aged ten with two Corgis 

Throughout an historic reign that spanned decades, one constant in the Queen’s life has always been her unwavering love for her Corgis (pictured with one of her Corgis in Balmoral in 1952)

The world has come to associate the Queen with Corgis, and the pet, and it appears that the Monarch herself was in on the joke. 

The Queen’s love of Corgis stretches back to her childhood, when her father King George VI bought Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister Princess Margaret a Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi when she was seven.  

King George brought one named Dookie home for her and Princess Margaret, after they played and fell in love with Viscount Weymouth’s own Corgi. 

The King and Queen Mother tried to breed Dookie, and a few years later he had two puppies with another mate, who were named Crackers and Carol.

Her Majesty’s lifelong commitment to her beloved pets helped her show a more candid side to the world, even writing to ‘wickedly funny’ letters from her Corgis to Jack Russells belonging to her former equerry Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson. Pictured in Sandringham with one of the pets

Well-wishers have always brought their pet Corgis to greet the Queen during her walkabouts. Pictured during a visit to Sherborne Abbey on May 1, 2012

Susan arrived in 1944 for the Queen’s 18th birthday, and they quickly became inseparable. 

The Queen loved Susan so much that she joined the Monarch and Prince Philip on honeymoon in 1947. 

When the Queen gave birth to Prince Charles, newspaper columns were full of advice on how she could prevent Susan from becoming jealous of the infant prince, Kay claimed. 

Susan soon began her won Corgi dynasty, with Sugar, who was Prince Charles’ and Honey, who went to the Queen Mother. 

The Queen’s love of the breed quickly became one of the things she was most known for around the world. 

Her Majesty owned more than 30 dogs throughout the years. Her latest, which were acquired in 2021, are believed to have been gifts.

Throughout her reign, she was photographed with the animals wherever she went. 

The Monarch with one of the royal Corgis, chatting with Prince Philip during a polo match, with Prince Charles and Princess Anne close by in 1956

The Monarch walking her four Corgis in King’s Cross in October 1969 upon returning to London from Balmoral 

The Queen loved her Corgis so much, they have become a symbol of British royalty. Pictured in 1960 in Windsor with a Corgi and two Dorgis 

Throughout her reign, the Queen was photographed with her beloved Corgis and Dorgis on numerous occasions and it is believed she has owned as much as 30 of them throughout her life (pictured with her pets at the Windsor Horse Trials)

The faithful pets would come with her on her royal tours, with royal aides attending to their every need and carrying them in and out of aeroplanes. 

Her love of Corgis was so well-known even the Royal Collection began to sell Corgi-shaped Christmas ornaments, acknowledging her fondness for the breed.   

Queen Elizabeth II also owned several Dorgis throughout her life, which are a cross between a Dachshund and a Corgi.

Her beloved pet Vulcan, who  died in 2020, was a Dorgi. 

In March 2021, she was gifted two new Corgis, however, one of the pups named Fergus died months later in May, which left the Monarch distraught.  

In June, she got a new Dorgi pup to cheer her up, which was gifted to her by Prince Andrew and his two daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. 

The Monarch’s beloved Corgis lived a life of luxury that few pets can pretend knowing. 

When at Buckingham Palace, the dogs slept in raised wicker baskets in a special boot room near the royal apartments, where they wander freely. 

Royal biographer Brian Hoey claimed in 2013 that the dogs ate at 5pm sharp every day at Buckingham Palace, in his book Pets by Royal Appointment. 

The Queen’s beloved dogs were never too far from her and the late Prince Philip. Pictured: The couple relaxing with one of their Dorgis in 1974 at Balmoral 

It was reported that the pups were fed a luxury diet of fillet steak and chicken breast cooked by a chef. 

The carefully prepared meals were then delivered by a footman and covered with gravy which was poured by the monarch herself.

The dogs never ate tinned food and were even given homeopathic remedies when they were ill, Hoey said. 

Mr Hoey said The Queen had a very hands-on approach in all aspects of her dogs’ lives. As a child she and Princess Margaret would feed their pet Corgi by hand from a bowl, he said.

She had also apparently joked that when breeding the dogs with Dachshunds she gave them a hand by ‘putting them on a brick’ as they have shorter legs.

The Royal family is well known for a fondness for dogs, but Mr Hoey claimed the Duke of Edinburgh ‘loathed’ Corgis ‘because they yap too much’. He preferred Labradors. 

Queen Elizabeth ll and a young Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones pictured with two of the Monarch’s Dorgis in 1976

The Queen with two of her pet Dorgis, which are a cross between a Dachshund and a Corgi, in 1977 in Windsor Great Park

Prince Edward, left, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1979, surrounded by the royal Corgis and Dorgis 

In 2018, Richard Kay revealed that each of the Queen’s Corgis were buried on her royal estate. 

The actual burial was performed by Her Majesty’s head gardener, while she oversaw the sad moment.   

Each of her beloved pups also received a headstone to commemorate their life as a loyal royal companion.  

‘On it are engraved the dog’s dates of birth and death along with the moving epitaph: ‘For almost 15 years the faithful companion of the Queen,’ Kay said. 

He added that the pups were all buried on the estate where they died, and their final resting places were quiet spots that were special to the Queen. 

The Queen Mother’s Corgis arrive back at Heathrow Airport, after a summer visit to Balmoral in 1993 and are carried out of the aeroplane by her aides 

After filming the ITV documentary The Queen and her Cousins to mark the Queen’s 95th birthday last year, TV presenter Alexander Armstrong revealed the Queen wrote ‘wickedly funny’ letters from her corgis to former equerry Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson. 

Armstrong told the Telegraph at the time: ‘He would write these letters from their Jack Russell to the Corgis and the Queen would write these letters back.’

He said he saw one of the framed letters hung at the house of Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson and was left ‘howling with laughter.’

The Pointless presenter said he could not remember the exact contents of the letters, but said it showed the Monarch had a great sense of humour. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson was equerry to the Queen and Deputy Master of the Household in the Royal Household from 1976 to 1994. 

Kay said Sandringham was the largest animal cemetery and was started by Queen Victoria for her Collie Noble, who died in 1887, and is where Susan was buried more than 70 years later.

Queen Elizabeth II being greeted by local corgi enthusiasts in Edmonton as she departs the Legislature Building during a tour of Canada in 2005 

One of the final photographs released of the Queen, which saw her celebrating her Jubilee in February, showcased her ongoing love for her dogs

When she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in June, Corgis were front and centre of the entertainment, with commemorative merchandise and decorations around Buckingham Palace shared like her four-legged pets

One of the final photographs released of the Queen, which saw her celebrating her Jubilee in February, showcased her ongoing love for her dogs.

In the snaps, she can be seen beaming as she views cards from well-wishers, before leaning down to stroke her pet dog Candy.  

Candy, a Dorgi, made a lap of the room, inspecting a small group of media representatives capturing the viewing.

The Queen said: ‘And where did you come from? I know what you want,’ which was likely referencing a treat. Then she called Candy over to make a fuss of her.

When she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in June, the Corgis were front and centre of the entertainment, with commemorative merchandise and decorations around Buckingham Palace shared like her four-legged pets. 

Soft toy versions of the breed, which originated from Pembrokeshire, and Corgi-shaped Christmas decorations have also been sold by the Royal Collection shop.

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