The Queen has always had a soft spot for corgis, so as she rings in her milestone 90th birthday it's only appropriate that her beloved pets would join her in an official portrait. In the striking portrait, captured by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, Her Majesty is surrounded by four of her dogs.
Taken in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, the photo shows the monarch standing on the steps at the rear of the East Terrace and East Garden with her dogs Willow, Vulcan, Candy and Holly. The 90-year-old is dressed in a casual blue coat and skirt and smiles as she gazes into the distance.
It is one of three official portraits released to mark The Queen's 90th birthday on Thursday. The images were all taken at Windsor Castle shortly after Easter, and offer a glimpse at Her Majesty with her daughter Princess Anne along with a stunning portrait of the Queen with her youngest family members including Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Corgis have always held a special place in the monarch's heart; it's believed that the Queen has owned more than 30 during her reign. "My corgis are my family," she has famously said.
Dookie, the first royal corgi, joined the royal household when Elizabeth was seven. The then-Princess even brought along her favourite, Susan – who had been given to her on her 18th birthday – when she and Prince Philip set off on their honeymoon.
Entering her tenth decade, the Queen has two elderly corgis, Holly and Willow – descendants of Susan – as well as two dorgis (a dachshund/corgi crossbreed), Candy and Vulcan.
Some of the dogs won further fame when they appeared with the Queen and Daniel Craig in a spoof James Bond video made for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
But the Queen has made it clear she doesn't want to introduce any more young dogs into the royal household because, she says, she doesn't want to leave them behind.