Blog The Corgi and the Queen - Caroline L. Perry
When I was growing up the Queen was an inescapable presence in my life. Her likeness was on every coin I saved to spend on sweets at the local corner shop, and on stamps carefully applied to letters sent to my pen pal, Pascal (imagine a world before email!) Queen Elizabeth’s insignia even adorned the postboxes I’d deposit those hand-scrawled messages in, before they began their cross-Channel journey to France.
Our late monarch was constant, and reassuring, yet somewhat mysterious - she never gave interviews, so we rarely got an insight into the inner workings of her mind.
One of the few things we knew for certain was that Queen Elizabeth II loved corgis. She was frequently photographed with a pack of the low-riding pooches by her side, and I’d often wondered what it was that drew her to that particular breed. What had sparked this lifelong love affair?
When I started researching my book, I discovered that corgis had been in Elizabeth’s life since she was a young girl, when she was enjoying a relatively normal childhood, and before her uncle King Edward VIII’s shock abdication set her on the unexpected path to becoming Queen.
When the then-Princess Elizabeth received her very own corgi puppy, Susan, as an 18th birthday gift, both an enduring friendship and a regal dog dynasty was born. Elizabeth adored that little dog so much that she even took her on honeymoon after her wedding to Prince Philip!
Fourteen generations of the Queen’s corgis were directly descended from Susan, and she once said, “My corgis are family.”
For me, this story really humanised the Queen, and made her very relatable. Like many kids I went through some challenging times in my childhood, and my pets were often my lifelines. I wonder what I would have done without my cats, dogs, hamsters, goldfish and even my budgerigar, Benji, who all served as confidantes, companions, and suppliers of unconditional love. Animals bring out the best in us, and our pets become cherished family members who give us far more than they expect in return.
The Queen wasn’t able to choose her destiny, but she could choose her four-legged friends, joyful and non-judgemental allies in a life devoted to duty. Muick and Sandy, the two corgis Elizabeth owned at the time of her death, even played a moving part in her funeral.
The Queen and her corgis were an iconic pairing until the very end, and that legacy lives on.