Behind every great ruler is a great dog, and Queen Elizabeth II knew that better than anyone.
The monarch has owned 30 dogs since her reign as Queen of the United Kingdom began in February 1952. The Queen received her first corgi, Susan, on her 18th birthday in 1944. Each corgi after that has been a descendant of Susan, who even accompanied the Queen and her late husband, Prince Philip, on their honeymoon in 1947 to Broadlands, Philip’s family home in the English countryside, and Birkhall, the queen’s childhood estate.
Elizabeth’s dogs even have their own room in Buckingham Palace, where they sleep on wicker beds and receive fresh sheets daily. As for food, the pups feast on meals each day prepared by the royal chef. The menus, which are individually designed for the dogs, consist of steak, poached chicken and rabbit. The food is also served by a butler on a silver platter.
“The dogs sleep in the home with the Royal Family, and they certainly are well-fed,” corgi trainer Roger Mugford told Town & Country in July 2015 of working with the regent’s pups. “The context and content of their meals is very important to Her Majesty, who tailors what they are fed to their age, clinical needs, and so on.”
He added: “The queen is a great believer in homeopathy and herbal medicines, and each dog has a unique menu. Eight exotic porcelain bowls are carried in by a butler, each for a particular dog. Eight dogs are arranged in a semi-circle to sit and wait to be given their meal bowls. It’s all disciplined and well-organized by Her Majesty; few other owners can exert such control over their dogs to ‘wait’ for their food in turn.”
Like the rest of the royal family, the queen’s corgis also receive first-class treatment when they travel. Not only are the dogs driven around by chauffeurs, but they’re also personally carried down the steps of the plane by royal aids when they fly. The holidays were also special for the canines. Elizabeth reportedly made stockings for the pups, which she stuffed with toys and treats.
Though the corgis spent the most time with the queen before her September 2022 death, they also formed bonds with other royal family members. In an interview with BBC after his engagement announcement in November 2017, Prince Harry said that his grandmother’s dogs have a special relationship with his now-wife, Meghan Markle.
“The corgis took to you straight away,” the Duke of Sussex said to Meghan at the time. “I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at, this one walks in, absolutely nothing. [They were] just wagging tails, and I was like, ‘Argh.'”
The Suits alum added, “[They were] just laying on my feet during tea. It was very sweet.”
After Elizabeth died at the age of 96, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson took custody of her dogs. While greeting mourners in London, Prince William told one woman that the dogs were being “spoiled rotten” in their new home.
“I saw them the other day,” he said during the brief September 2022 interaction, which was captured and shared via Sky News. “They’re going to be looked after fine, they’re two very friendly corgis and they’ve got a good home.”
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Scroll below to see photos of the queen and her beloved dogs through the years: