Queen Elizabeth, who turns 92 on Saturday, is in mourning following the death of her last living corgi, Willow, who was 14. The news has reportedly hit the monarch, who is known for her love of her furred companions, hard.
A source told the Daily Mail, “She has mourned every one of her corgis over the years, but she has been more upset about Willow’s death than any of them… It is probably because Willow was the last link to her parents and a pastime that goes back to her own childhood. It really does feel like the end of an era.”
Willow, the last in a line descending from Susan, one of the Queen’s original corgis, died 18 months after Holly, another one of the Queen’s beloved dogs. The sovereign was given Susan on her 18th birthday in 1944 before becoming Queen. The dog was so adored by Elizabeth that she even accompanied the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on their honeymoon.
Willow and Holly appeared alongside the Queen and Daniel Craig, aka James Bond, in a short film shown at the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. They were also photographed with the monarch on her 90th birthday by Annie Leibovitz.
Willow, who suffered from cancer, was put to sleep at Windsor Castle on Sunday. “Willow represents a significant thread running through the Queen’s life from her teenage years to her 90s. To think that the last one has gone is something of a milestone,” a courtier said.
The Queen adopted Whisper, a new corgi, last year after its owner, a former Sandringham gamekeeper, died. She also has Vulcan and Candy, two corgi-dachshund mixes, or dorgis.
Though corgis are known to be temperamental, one future member of the royal family had managed to charm them. Prince Harry told reporters last year how his fiancée Meghan Markle bonded with the Queen's dogs.
"The corgis took to you straight away,” Harry said to Markle. "I've spent the last 33 years being barked at - this one walks in, absolutely nothing."