British Royal Pets — Past, Present and Future
Published on February 02, 2012
We may think that our pets get the royal treatment, but Prince William and Duchess Catherine have just adopted a lucky pup who is the newest member of England’s ruling family.
Although the newlyweds bucked tradition by choosing a black male Cocker Spaniel over a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the adorable pooch — whose father reportedly belongs to the duchess’s mother — is hardly the first dog to roam the royal grounds.
Noble Pets of Yesteryear
The world may have changed dramatically in the last century, but a love of animals dates far back when it comes to the British monarchy: In 1887, Queen Victoria’s Collie, Noble, was buried by the castle in Balmoral. King Edward VII’s favorite terrier, Caesar, outlived the monarch and even marched in his funeral procession.
Queen Elizabeth II’s affection for Corgis started when her father, King George VI, brought home a Corgi named Dookie from a kennel. Others soon followed, including two puppies named Crackers and Carol. The Queen received her own Corgi, Susan, as a present on her eighteenth birthday. Eventually, some descendants were bred with Dachshunds, creating Dorgis — three of which now reside with the Queen herself.
Animal Gifts That Keep Giving
Although you might bring a bottle of wine or some flowers when visiting friends, in royal circles, exotic live animals are sometimes exchanged as a nod to wealth and status. In 1764, King George III received a cheetah from India — and King George IV was gifted a giraffe by the Pasha of Egypt.
The tradition continues today — and such animals are regifted to sanctuaries and zoos. A few more recent wild-animal presents: The Queen accepted two sloths from Brazil, while The Duke of York was presented with a baby crocodile, compliments of Gambia. The country of Cameroon even sent an elephant named Jumbo.
Dogs Barreling Down the Halls of the Palace Today
Currently, Her Majesty has six (yes, six!) dogs: Corgis named Monty, Holly and Willow, as well as Dorgis named Cider, Candy and Vulcan. The Queen is either a Star Trek fan or she named the last pooch after the mythological god of fire.
Of course, not every member of the royal family is as Corgi obsessed. The Duchess of Cornwall (the controversial Camilla) apparently has two Jack Russell Terriers, Tosca and Rosie.
Royal Animal Causes
Philanthropy is first and foremost for many members of the royal family — the Queen is patron to more than 600 charities! — and animal organizations are at the top of the list. In fact, more than 30 of Queen Elizabeth II’s charities are critter-related, including The Royal Pigeon Racing Association. Why, you ask? The Queen keeps her own pigeons.
Thanks to an equal fascination with birds, The Duke of Edinburgh is involved with the British Falconers’ Club, the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology and Birds Australia — as well as Friends of the Sea Otter.
All and all, it looks like life for Will and Kate’s new addition should be, well, pretty royal.