A Definitive History of Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Corgis

In photos of the British royal family over the years, corgis can often be spotted, thanks to Queen Elizabeth’s undying love for the breed. During her decades on the throne, the Queen has owned around 30 corgis and dorgis (daschund and corgi mixes), and the corgi has become something of a symbol of her reign.

Here, everything you need to know about royal corgis.

Her family’s corgis

Princess Elizabeth holding a corgi dog, undated.

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Queen Elizabeth’s love of corgis is said to have started with a British nobleman named Thomas Henry Thynne (later the 5th Marquess of Bath). The Thynne children had a pair of corgis as pets, and when young Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret visited their home, the young royals reportedly fell in love with the dogs.

Shortly after, the princesses’ parents brought home Dookie, a corgi, in 1933. Dookie has the honor of being the first of many Welsh Corgis belonging to the royal family. The Queen Mother is said to have chosen Dookie because of his slightly longer tail, remarking “so we can see if he’s happy or not”.

royal sisters and dog
Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret sitting on the grass in the grounds of Royal Lodge, Windsor, petting a corgi, June 1936.

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According to Royal Collection Trust“Dookie, officially named Rozavel Golden Eagle, acquired his nickname when he was sent for training. The staff, aware that the dog was destined for the Duke of York’s household, began calling him Dookie. When the dog returned to his new family, it became clear that he only responded to his new nickname, so he stayed with him.”

Soon another corgi named Jane joined the family. In a 1937 article, a journalist detailed: “The king and queen and their children are all extremely fond of dogs, and a large part of the princesses’ leisure time is devoted to their pets. The favorites are the two Welsh corgis, who go by the names of Dookie and Jane. It is the work of children to see that they are brushed and exercised. Other royal dogs at the time included Golden Labradors, Tibetan Mastiff, Golden Retriever and Cocker Spaniel.

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The Royal Princesses at the windows (Elizabeth is on the left and Margaret on the right) of the Royal Welsh House with two Corgi dogs, June 1936.

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In 1940, with the start of the Second World War, Elizabeth and Margaret were evacuated to Windsor Castle, and their dogs went with them, to keep them company. By this point, Dookie was dead, but Jane had a puppy named Crackers. Unfortunately, Jane died a few years later, in 1944, when she was accidentally run over by a car.

A dog of hers

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King George VI with his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret on the grounds of Windsor Castle, June 1946. A corgi lies at their feet.

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In 1944, for her 18th birthday, Princess Elizabeth received her very own corgi, named Susan. Susan was a Pembroke Corgi and was Elizabeth’s constant companion for many years. The dog even accompanied Elizabeth and Philip on their honeymoon.

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Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip playing with Susan at the start of their honeymoon, November 1947.

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A year after Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles, Susan also became a mother: the dog had a pair of puppies, Sugar and Honey. Technically, Sugar was Prince Charles and Princess Anne’s pet, and Honey belonged to the Queen’s mother.

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Queen Elizabeth seated with her children Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Balmoral in September 1952. Spot the royal corgi in the background.

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After a long and happy life, Susan died at Sandringham in January 1959 and was buried on the grounds of Queen Victoria’s Pet Cemetery. The original headstone inscription read “Susan / Died 26th January 1959 / For 15 years the Queen’s faithful companion”, until the Queen realized that Susan’s date of birth was incorrect, it was therefore adjusted to read “for almost 15 years”.

The life of the Royal Corgis

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The Queen’s corgis arriving at the airport, circa 1980s.

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The Queen said “my corgis are part of the family” and their palace life highlights that. Apparently, at Buckingham Palace, corgis slept in wicker baskets in a “corgi room” and dined on steak and chicken. They travel with the queen to her various homes.

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Queen Elizabeth with her corgis at Aberdeen Airport in Scotland in 1974.

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“The dogs sleep in the house with the royal family, and they are certainly well fed,” said royal dog trainer Dr Roger Mugford. City & Country in 2015. “The context and content of their meals is very important to Her Majesty, who tailors what they receive to their age, clinical needs, etc. The Queen is an avid follower of homeopathy and herbs medicinal products, and each dog has a unique menu.Eight exotic porcelain bowls are brought by a butler, each for a particular dog.Eight dogs are arranged in a semi-circle to sit and wait to be given their meal bowls Everything is disciplined and well organized by Her Majesty; few other owners can exercise such control over their dogs to ‘wait’ for their food in turn.”

The end of an era

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The Royal Family posing with Royal Corgis at Balmoral Castle, November 1979.

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In 2012, the queen decided to stop breeding corgis. As Monty Roberts, an informal adviser to the Queen on dog training, reminded vanity lounge, “she didn’t want to have any more young dogs. She didn’t want to leave any more young dogs behind. She wanted to be done with it.” In April 2018, her corgi named Willow passed away, the last of Susan’s descendants.

Her reason for quitting breeding corgis could also be because none of the Queen’s children took to corgis like their mother did, despite the Windsors being renowned for their love of animals. – and even dogs!

“They bark all the time,” Prince William said of his grandmother’s corgis. “I don’t know how she handles it.” (William and Kate Middleton have a black cocker spaniel.)

Prince Harry echoed their barking tendencies in his 2017 engagement interview with Meghan Markle. In the interview, Harry told Meghan: “The corgis took you right away!” He added: “I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at, and this one comes in, absolutely nothing.” (Like her mother-in-law, Meghan Markle loves dogs. But she doesn’t have a corgis; Meghan is a proud rescue dog owner.)

The Queen’s corgis during the pandemic

Queen Elizabeth II walking her dogs at Windsor Castle
Walking his dogs at Windsor Castle, April 1994.

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in February 2021, her son, Prince Andrew, and granddaughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, gave her two new puppies – Muick, a corgi, and Fergus, a dorgi – to keep her company while the Prince Philip was hospitalized. Sadly, Fergus passed away in May 2021. Yet in June, the Queen asked another corgi, Sandy, to keep Muick company.

Angela Kelly, Queen Elizabeth’s trusted confidante, has revealed that these dogs have been a “godsend” to the Queen during the pandemic. “I was afraid they would end up under the Queen’s feet, but they turned out to be a godsend. They are beautiful and great fun and the Queen often takes long walks with them in Home Park,” Kelly wrote. .

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