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Among the many transitions that Queen Elizabeth II’s death has set in motion for Britain will be one that affects the smallest, and perhaps cutest, members of the royal family: the monarch’s pack of four royal dogs. These include two corgis, a corgi-dachshund cross (known as a dorgi) and a cocker spaniel.
Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request for comment about who would be now caring for the dogs, named Candy, Lissy, Muick and Sandy. But wherever the royal canines end up, they may need to become accustomed to a home that is less luxurious than a castle. Charles, who will officially be proclaimed king on Saturday, reportedly prefers Jack Russell terriers over Pembroke Welsh corgis.
The queen had more than 30 dogs, many of them corgis, during her seven-decade reign. But corgis do not have a long royal history — Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret, became the first people in the royal family to have one when, while they were young princesses in 1933, King George VI, then the Duke of York, got them a puppy, named Dookie. Another corgi, Jane, joined the royal family soon after, until 1944, when she was hit by a car. For Elizabeth’s 18th birthday, she got another corgi, a two-month-old puppy named Sue, who became known as Susan.
“Susan is the one who was with her during her courtship with Prince Philip, who accompanied her on her honeymoon, who was there when her father died,” said Ciara Farrell, the library and collections manager of the Kennel Club, Britain’s largest organization devoted to dog welfare. “Susan was really a special dog for her.”
The queen bred corgis from Susan’s lineage for eight decades, and over the years the queen would bring her dogs with her on overseas visits. She was also photographed walking with them on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Becoming queen. Following the death of King George VI, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, at age 25. The coronation of the newly minted Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2 the following year.
A historic visit. On May 18, 1965, Elizabeth arrived in Bonn on the first state visit by a British monarch to Germany in more than 50 years. The trip formally sealed the reconciliation between the two nations following the world wars.
First grandchild. In 1977, the queen stepped into the role of grandmother for the first time, after Princess Anne gave birth to a son, Peter. Elizabeth’s four children have given her a total of eight grandchildren, who have been followed by several great-grandchildren.
Princess Diana’s death. In a rare televised broadcast ahead of Diana’s funeral in 1997, Queen Elizabeth remembered the Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris at age 36, as “an exceptional and gifted human being.”
Golden jubilee. In 2002, celebrations to mark Elizabeth II’s 50 years as queen culminated in a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace in the presence of 12,000 cheering guests, with an estimated one million more watching on giant screens set up around London.
A trip to Ireland. In May 2011, the queen visited the Irish Republic, whose troubled relationship with the British monarchy spanned centuries. The trip, infused with powerful symbols of reconciliation, is considered one of the most politically freighted trips of Elizabeth’s reign.
Breaking a record. As of 5:30 p.m. British time on Sept. 9, 2015, Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother. Elizabeth was 89 at the time, and had ruled for 23,226 days, 16 hours and about 30 minutes.
Marking 70 years of marriage. On Nov. 20, 2017, the queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th anniversary, becoming the longest-married couple in royal history. The two wed in 1947, as the country and the world was still reeling from the atrocities of World War II.
Losing her spouse. In 2021, Queen Elizabeth II bade farewell to Prince Philip, who died on April 9. An image of the queen grieving alone at the funeral amid coronavirus restrictions struck a chord with viewers at home following the event.
The Pembroke Welsh corgi peaked in popularity in the 1960s in Britain, in the years after the queen ascended to the throne, with more than 8,000 corgi puppies registered in 1961. In the decades that followed, however, they became much less popular, hitting a low in 2014, when only 274 corgi puppies were registered, Ms. Farrell said.
The breed became so closely associated with the royal family that corgis have appeared in pop-culture depictions of the monarchy, particularly in the last decade. Willow, who was believed to be a 14th-generation direct descendant of Susan, was one of three corgis to star in the sketch that opened the 2012 London Olympics.
“That put the corgis back in the public consciousness,” Ms. Farrell said.
Corgis have become more popular in recent years, with more than 1,000 corgi puppies registered with the Kennel Club last year. Ms. Farrell said the high-profile performance of three corgis in the London Olympics sketch had helped, as did their roles in shows like “The Crown,” “Bridgerton” and an animated comedy called “The Queen’s Corgi.”
The queen also had gun dogs, Labradors and cocker spaniels, which lived on the royal estate at Sandringham in the English county of Norfolk, Ms. Farrell said.
Early last year, the queen received two new puppies, one corgi and one dorgi — gifts from her son Prince Andrew, according to the Daily Mail — as Britain went into a monthslong lockdown because of the coronavirus. The local news media reported that the queen, who was 96 when she died, had taken her dogs for long walks well into her 90s.