To celebrate her 90th birthday (on April 21), the United Kingdom's longest reigning monarch sat for famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, who gives insight into the royal's daily life with a new series of portraits that include her favorite things: chiefly, her husband of 68 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, her family and her herd of friendly corgis.
"The most moving, important thing about this shoot is that these were all her ideas," Leibovitz said. "She wanted to be photographed with her grandchildren and great grandchildren; her husband … her daughter, Anne, the Princess Royal; and her corgis. I was told how relaxed she was at Windsor [Castle], and it was really true. You get the sense of how at ease she was with herself, and very much enthralled with her family."
The cover features four of the animals: Holly (held by the Queen), followed by Willow (left), Vulcan (center) and Candy (right). The rightmost two pups are actually hybrids — "dorgis" (corgis mixed with dachshunds) — which the queen engineered herself.
"The corgi breed has been a part of the Queen's life since 1949, when she started a program of royal corgi breeding from her first puppy, Susan," a statement from Vanity Fair said. "The Queen herself oversaw this program through at least 14 generations, over a period of five decades. Although the palace has made no announcement of it, the Queen has ceased breeding: Holly and Willow were born the year after the Queen Mum's death, and there has been no further breeding since then."
What do you think of the queen's cute cover shot?
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!