Prince Andrew ‘gifted corgi puppies to help Queen cope when Prince Philip was ill’

Smile for the camera: Her Majesty with one of her beloved corgis in 1952

By Amie Gordon and Jane Fryer for the Daily Mail  

From the moment her father gave her a dog as an 18th birthday present, corgis have provided loyal companionship to the Queen for more than 70 years. 

The dog-loving Monarch, who was given her first corgi, Susan, as an 18th birthday present in 1944, had vowed not to get any more dogs after Vulcan, her dorgi – a dachshund-corgi cross – passed away last year. It left her with just a single elderly dorgi called Candy.

But when Philip was hospitalised earlier this year, it emerged she had acquired two new four-legged friends, given names with a special meaning to the Queen.

Fergus, a dorgi, is named after her uncle Fergus Bowes-Lyon, who was killed in action during the First World War. 

The second dog, Muick, pronounced ‘Mick’, is a pure-bred corgi and named after Loch Muick on the Balmoral estate, a favourite picnic spot for the Royals during their summer holiday.

The Queen has owned more than 30 dogs over the years. Her latest are believed to have been gifts.

Accompanying her and Philip on their honeymoon, nipping the ankles of politicians, and causing the Duke to exclaim ‘bloody dogs!’, the corgis have become well-known fixtures in royal households. 

Life for a royal dog is like no other; they run to the Queen’s room in the morning before joining her for toast and marmalade. A new corgi menu is typed and posted to the kitchen wall daily – all food cooked from scratch – and their supper will be served by Her Majesty. 

Her most famous dog was perhaps Monty, who appeared with his mistress and James Bond star Daniel Craig in a sketch for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.  

Prince Philip would swear: ‘Bloody dogs! Why do you have to have so many?’, to which the Queen’s stock response would be: ‘Because they are so collectable, my dear’.  

The Queen with some of her corgis walking the cross country course during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials in 1980

The Queen with some of her corgis walking the cross country course during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials in 1980

When Monty passed away at Balmoral in 2012, the Queen went into mourning and the royal standard was lowered to just half-way.   

Monty was laid to rest in the special corgi cemetery at Balmoral, beneath a specially commissioned headstone. 

In 2009, devastated by the loss of two more of her beloved pets to cancer, the Queen HAD decided not to replace her remaining corgis by breeding — as she had done for more than 65 years — but to let her love affair come to a natural end. 

Life for a royal dog starts each day with a brisk early walk with a footman. When the Queen wakes, they dash to her room and accompany her to breakfast, where they yap and jump for slices of toast and marmalade — fed to them from the table.

There’s a daily walk after lunch — the Queen in her headscarf, the dogs careering through flowerbeds and ripping up lawns — followed by dinner, dished up by the Queen, if she’s free, in highly polished metal bowls. 

All food is cooked from scratch (there was uproar in Balmoral a few years ago when the Queen suspected some of the food in the gleaming dog bowls had previously been frozen) and a new corgi menu is typed and posted to the kitchen wall daily.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the Queen for 11 years, said: ‘One day it would be chuck steak, which we boiled and served with finely chopped, boiled cabbage and white rice. The next they’d have poached chicken or liver. Or rabbits shot by William or Harry that we’d clean, cook, debone and chop for the dogs.’

Not forgetting their special gravy and hot scones, baked daily, served with lashings of butter and crumbled onto the floor by the Queen each afternoon. 

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