The Queen is known for her beautiful gaggle of dogs, especially the corgis that have been a constant in her life since she got her first as a gift at 18. They have been the subject of hilarious anecdotes by members of the Royal Family, like when Prince Harry marvelled at how they immediately took to Meghan Markle despite barking at him for decades, a detail shared in their engagement interview. But sadly, the monarch has had to say a tough goodbye to the last of her corgis, Whisper, who she adopted two years ago from a former staff member.
Whisper is understood to have fallen ill some weeks ago, according to the Daily Mail, but was well enough to travel back from Scotland to Windsor at the end of the Queen's summer break. Vets were called in to Windsor Castle, where she died. The pup was given to Her Majesty by the late Bill Fenwick, who was employed as a gamekeeper at Sandringham. Nancy, his late wife, was in charge of taking care of the monarch’s group of dogs while she was away on her travels and royal engagements. Richard Kay of the Daily Mail broke the news, writing that the monarch became “very attached to the dog. Whisper was a friendly chap.” Despite saying that she didn’t want any more dogs, as too many posed a tripping risk, the Queen just couldn’t say no to Whisper, and so she welcome the dog into her family.
It’s been a tough year for the 93-year-old monarch, who also laid to rest her dog Willow earlier this year. Willow was the final corgi who descended from the Queen’s original companion Susan, and passed away in April. But although the era of her famous crew of corgis has come to a close, she still finds companionship in her dorgis (a cross between a corgi and a dachshund), Candy and Vulcan. These two adorable pups can be spotted in the Queen’s 90 th birthday portraits, taken by talented American photographer Annie Leibiovitz. At Sandringham, Her Majesty also has her group of Labradors, with whom she spends time whenever she stays at her English estate.
Susan, her first corgi, was an 18th birthday gift from her father, King George VI. The king, who died in 1952, first brought the regal breed of dog into their family back in 1933, when Queen Elizabeth II was just a seven-year-old princess – unaware of the big future that lay ahead for her. The first corgi was named Dookie, quickly followed by another, Jane, who had a litter of puppies, of which the family kept two. Though Whisper’s death marks the end of an era, it can certainly be said that the Queen’s corgis lived the most lavish and well-loved of canine lives, from their homemade meals prepared by the Queen’s chefs to the stockings she reportedly fills for each dog at Christmas.