Queen and Corgis

The Queen’s Corgis: The Most Loyal (And Pampered) Royal Subjects

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By Kieran Corcoran | 3:15 am, April 21, 2016
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As The Queen turns 90, there will be no members of the Royal household keener to make her day than her loyal contingent of Corgis.

The legion of diminutive dogs have been her companions for virtually all her adult life and are an indelible part of her public image.

Queen and Corgis
Queen Elizabeth II poses with her pet dogs at Windsor Castle. Candy (top left) and Holly (bottom left) are Corgis, while Vulcan (top right) and Candy (bottom-right) are cross-breed Dorgis // Annie Leibovitz via Getty Images

Even as the role and certainty of the monarch in British life – and her power across the globe – has receded, the loyal canines remain a reassuring presence.

Rumors of the pets’ pampered treatment abound – with claims they are fed steak on palace silverware, and that Her Majesty hands them their food in strict order of seniority.

The Queen Meets A Corgi
HM Queen Elizabeth II meets a corgi called Spencer as she arrives at Welshpool train station on April 28, 2010 in Welshpool, Wales

They were even treated to the occasional drop of gin and whiskey by a palace footman – though the practice came to an end after The Sun newspaper unveiled the wheeze and outraged courtiers demoted him.

In return for their royal diet, the canines chip in on matters of international diplomacy and domestic PR.

They have made appearances in front of the cameras accompanied by countless world leaders, and are an easy icebreaker in the potentially stifling context of grandiose palaces and intimidating social etiquette.

They even met James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) when the Queen made a cameo in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

The Queen and James Bond in the Olympic Opening Ceremony
The Queen, James Bond and her Corgis appear in the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

However, the animals do sometimes end up causing trouble.

In 2012 it was reported that they ended up in a mass brawl at the Queen’s Balmoral castle in Scotland.

The fight allegedly began when they encountered a group of dogs owned by Princess Beatrice. One of Beatrice’s pets – an 11-year-old named Max – was badly injured and needed surgery.

Corgis go for a walk in front of Obama's car
The Queen’s Corgis go for a walk in front of President Barack Obama’s car in 2009

It was a minor detraction from a virtually blemish-free service record, which is lovingly remembered.

Gravestones for the animals are even dotted around the grounds of her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, where she spends every Christmas.

Each dog is remembered solemnly as a “faithful companion” and has his or her years of service inscribed alongside their name.

Even though they won’t know that today has a special significance for their owner, her spirited canine friends are likely to give at least as much joy – if not more – as any opportunistic world leader swinging by for the weekend.