UPDATED DECEMBER 3, 2020: Since this article was published we are sad to report that one of Queen Elizabeth’s remaining Dorgi’s, Vulcan has passed away. The news was confirmed by reported Rebecca English on Twitter, “The Queen is mourning the loss of one of her last two remaining dogs just weeks before Christmas,” English tweeted. “Loyal companion Vulcan, a dachshund-corgi cross, died a few weeks ago at Windsor. It has left the 94-year-old monarch with just one remaining animal, Candy, also a Dorgi” she said. The Queen is mourning in private and has not made any public announcements regarding Vulcan.
Queen Elizabeth II has been Queen of England for nearly 70 years now. Throughout her reign there has been a group of loyal companions ALWAYS by her side, no we are not talking about her beloved husband, Prince Philip, but rather her adorable dogs. Queen Elizabeth has always been a huge dog lover. We would go as far as to say the Queen is really one of the only world leaders to constantly have a pet by her side. In fact, Her Royal Highness has had at least one dog since she the age of 7, she is now 94 years old. The Queen is particularly fond of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed, a cattle herding dog breed that originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Since 1933 she has owned over 30 corgis alone (that’s right, the Queen has even more dogs as well).
The Queen first fell in love with the corgi breed when her father, King George VI brought Dookie home, the family’s first dog. Queen Elizabeth was only 7 years old when their family got their first pet. Early photographs of Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret often feature their four-legged canine friend– see the endearing pic above from 1936. The Queen and Princess Margaret were always very involved in taking care of Dookie. The Royal Family as a whole has always had a very hands-on approach with their four-legged friends considering them part of the family.
In fact, up until recently, the Queen was known to walk her pets daily, often getting spotted by the paparazzi. And of course, the Queen always travels with her canine-companions. Check out this very rare footage of Queen Elizabeth II arriving at Heathrow airport with her dogs. The Queen personally escorts the pets out of the plane before saying her goodbyes and handing them off to their Royal caretaker.
A little known fact about the Queen and her corgis is that she is so fond of the breed that in the 1950’s she launched a corgi breeding program at Windsor Castle. It was there that the Queen bred over 8 generations of corgis. A couple of years back, Vanity Fair revealed that the Queen has never allowed her purebred corgis to compete in dog shows. Moreover, although she has never sold any of the purebred from Windsor Castle, she has given a few away. Which makes us wonder, who owns one of the Queen’s corgis?
Because the pets are considered to be a part of the family, they often tend to their very own Royal appearances. Willow, Queen Elizabeth’s last corgi famously appeared alongside the Queen and James Bond actor, Daniel Craig in a promo for the 2012 London Olympics. Willow also appeared with Vulcan and Candy, two of the Queen’s dorgis, on the cover of the 2016 issue of Vanity Fair. A dorgi is a cross between a Daschund and Corgi. Her Royal Highness’ dogs were even included in the Netflix series The Crown.
In the 2016 Vanity Fair issue above, which celebrates the Queen’s 90th birthday, the Queen is photographed with her dogs by world-renowned photographer, Annie Leibovitz. The decision to include her pets on the cover was entirely the Queens’. In an interview with Leibovitz, the photographer is quoted as saying, “The most moving, important thing about this shoot is that these were all her ideas.” Leibovitz goes on to say, “She wanted to be photographed with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; her daughter, Anne, the Princess Royal; and her corgis.”
But now, after having bred over 30 corgis and over 8 generations, the Queen has made the very difficult decision to end the program. The decision came after Willow, the last of a long line of Royal corgis, passed away in 2018. Willow was actually the 14th generation descended of Susan, a corgi given to Queen Elizabeth by her father on her 18th birthday. Some would say, Susan, was truly the corgi that started it all.
The Queen has decided to stop breeding her corgis as she reportedly “didn’t want to have any more young dogs” because “she didn’t want to leave any young dog behind.” The decision did not come easy, in fact, sources close to the Queen said she was heartbroken. The Queen also did not make an official statement regarding her decision of the passing of her beloved Willow as it was a very private, personal matter for her. Although this is the first time since World War II that the Queen has not owned a corgi, she does not remain dog-less; as mentioned earlier, the Queen has two dorgis, Vulcan and Candy. The two dorgis have a pretty interesting story of their own as well. The dorgis came to be when one of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis decided to mate with one of Princess Margaret’s dachshund’s thus giving us the adorable dorgi. It is unclear if this was planned, but it must be pretty touching for the Queen to have a loving memory of her late sister as the two had a very special bond.
Check out the slideshow below for a peek into the loving relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and her canine companions.Embed from Getty Images
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