National Post

In crisis, Queen can count on her corgis

- Antonia noori Farzan

When the Queen’s most recent pet corgi died in 2018, it marked the end of an era. For decades, the monarch had been surrounded by a pack of the short-legged dogs — but she’d reportedly vowed not to adopt any more, since she didn’t want pets to outlive her.

That resolve evaporated last week, as the Royal Family braced itself for the fallout from Oprah Winfrey’s sit-down with Harry and Meghan. Days before the explosive interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aired, the 94-year-old Queen acquired two new corgi puppies, British tabloids reported.

“The corgis are intensely loyal and loving and they have never let her down,” royal biographer Penny Junor told the Sun. “And of course corgis also seldom rush off to L.A. to give interviews.”

A spokespers­on for Buckingham Palace did not dispute The Sun’s report, but declined to provide further details about the dogs.

Cynical observers might conclude adding a few adorable corgi puppies to the family is a strategic ploy. After all, even people with little enthusiasm for the monarchy can be charmed by inquisitiv­e, excitable dogs. “Symbols of friendline­ss, they are shrewdly deployed for publicity purposes, lending warmth to her public image,” Vanity Fair noted in 2015.

British media reports suggest that the dogs are also providing emotional support while Prince Philip is hospitaliz­ed. The 99-year-old was admitted last month and underwent heart surgery. He has spent the past 20 nights in the hospital — his longest stay to date. A royal insider told the Sun that the bright-eyed new corgis are “bringing in a lot of noise and energy” to an otherwise sombre Windsor Castle.

Over the years, the castle and palace been home to at least 30 different corgis, and Philip has referred to the Queen’s insistence on feeding and walking them herself as her “dog mechanism” — a kind of therapy.

But before the crisis, the royal household was home to just one dog — Candy, an aging dachshund-corgi mix who is the last of the Queen’s “dorgis.” Distinguis­hed by their long, floppy ears, the crossbreed­s became a beloved part of the Royal Family after one of the Queen’s corgis accidental­ly mated with a dachshund belonging to Prince Margaret, according to Vanity Fair.

Corgis and dorgis alike live a charmed life: They reportedly sleep in their own “corgi room,” and dine on chef-prepared steak filets. And they appear to have been far more welcoming than some other members of the family. In 2017, when Harry announced his engagement to Meghan, he recalled in a television interview that the corgis had taken to her “straight away,” wagging their tails as they lie on her feet during tea.

“I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at. This one walks in, absolutely nothing,” he said.

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