THE QUEEN’S PASSION FOR POOCHES WITH PEDIGREE
Susan, the Queen’s first corgi, lived to be almost 15. Willow, the 14th generation of Susan’s descendants and the last of the Queen’s corgis, died in April this year.
Queen Victoria’s dogs were buried in the garden of the residence where they died and Queen Elizabeth has continued this tradition. At Sandringham the pet cemetery is in a corner of the garden, near a boundary wall inset with memorial stones. There are touching tributes to dozens of dogs, both pets and gundogs.
After Susan’s death in 1959, the Queen wrote to her estate manager with instructions for the dog’s burial and drew a sketch of the gravestone and the inscription she wanted carved into it (pictured above). When Susan’s daughter Sugar died in 1965 she was buried alongside her mother with her dates and a similar inscription.
While the corgis’ long reign at Buckingham Palace may have drawn to a close, there is no doubt that dogs will roam around the royal corridors of the future. Neither Prince Charles nor Prince William has ever been without a four-footed friend, although Prince Charles declared at an early age that he preferred labradors to corgis.
And speaking in their engagement interview last year, Prince Harry described how well Meghan had got on with the Queen when they first met, giving a clue to the reason: when he had first introduced Meghan to his grandmother, the dogs had taken to her straight away. ‘I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at,’ he joked. ‘This one walks in – absolutely nothing…’
‘[The dogs were] just lying on my feet during tea,’ confirmed Meghan. ‘It was very sweet.’