Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis: A History of the Beloved Royal Dogs

Only three months after celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, the world mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II. She was Britain’s longest-serving monarch, reigning for 70 years. Throughout the decades, the queen became an international icon and even a trendsetter, especially when it came to Queen Elizabeth’s beloved corgis

Queen Elizabeth’s love for corgis began at a young age

Queen Elizabeth's corgis
Princess Elizabeth sits on a garden bench with two corgis in July 1936 | Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At just 7 years old, Princess Elizabeth adopted her first corgi. Officially named Rozavel Golden Eagle but lovingly called Dookie, the dog was the first of over 30 corgis the royal owned throughout her life. Lady Jane joined Dookie a few years later. Then, for her 18th birthday, Elizabeth received another corgi, Susan, as a gift. Thus began a canine tradition in the royal family.

Susan became the matriarch of several generations of royal corgis, many of which the queen kept. Occasionally, she gifted one of the puppies to another family member or a close friend, but the queen never sold a single puppy. The last of Susan’s line came with the death of the queen’s beloved Willow in 2018. 

Queen Elizabeth’s corgis were also responsible for the birth of a new hybrid — the “dorgi” — after Princess Margaret’s dachshund mated with Susan’s great-great-granddaughter Tiny. The line produced about 10 dorgis.

Queen Elizabeth’s love of corgis is said to have created a phenomenon. Corgi registrations in the Kennel Club reportedly rose in 1936, the year Elizabeth adopted Lady Jane, and again in 1944, the year she got Susan.

“She had made corgis cool, while they made her look warm,” the BBC reports.

What will happen to Queen Elizabeth’s corgis Muick and Sandy?

Willow’s death marked the first time in nearly 75 years that Queen Elizabeth was without a corgi. But when the queen went into isolation during the pandemic, her son Prince Andrew gifted her Muick and another corgi, which died shortly thereafter. In 2021, for the queen’s 95th birthday, Prince Andrew and his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, presented the monarch with Sandy — Queen Elizabeth’s final corgi. 

Upon the queen’s death, Muick and Sandy will reportedly go to Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York.

The queen’s dogs lived a royal life

Queen Elizabeth corgis
Queen Elizabeth with one of her corgis at Balmoral Castle on Sept. 28, 1952 | UPI color slide via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth’s corgis and other dogs lived a life of luxury. They slept in her private apartment in Buckingham Palace and enjoyed their own dog room with “raised wicker baskets lined with cushions to keep draughts away,” journalist Penny Junor wrote in her book All the Queen’s Corgis.

Royal chefs prepared the dogs’ meals in the royal kitchens. The canine menu reportedly included a rotation of beef, chicken, lamb, and rabbit, according to Darren McGrady, a former royal chef to Queen Elizabeth (via Hello!). McGrady also says the food was poached and then diced into fine pieces to ensure that no bones would choke the dogs. 

Another of the queen’s former staffers, royal footman Steven Kaye, told Woman & Home that each dog had customized dietary requirements and was served meals in silver bowls with their names engraved on them.

And because Queen Elizabeth and her corgis were famously inseparable, she took them with her whenever she traveled. That meant the queen’s dogs were frequent flyers on the royal family’s private jets. 

Whether Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, will maintain the luxurious treatment of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis is yet to be seen. But it would surely please Her Royal Highness to know her beloved companions will remain in the royal family.

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