Queen's special bond with corgis showcased in new photo exhibition at the Wallace Collection

Queen Elizabeth II of England at Balmoral Castle with one of her Corgis, 28 September 1952. 
Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II of England at Balmoral Castle with one of her Corgis, 28 September 1952. Credit: Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

The late Queen's life-long relationship with her beloved corgis is being showcased in a new photography exhibition.

Britain's longest-serving monarch owned more than 30 Pembroke Welsh corgis throughout her 70-year reign and this bond is being celebrated in photographs marking each decade of her life in a one-room display at the Wallace Collection in Marylebone.

Wallace Collection director Dr Xavier Bray hopes the display will show a "more personal side of her life".

Coinciding with Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney (29 March–15 October 2023) at the gallery, this special display celebrates the unique connection the Queen had with corgis throughout her life through photographs.

The then Princess Elizabeth pictured holding a corgi in the grounds of Windsor Castle, 30 May 1944. Credit: Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive via Getty Images.

The late monarch's love for the breed stretched back to her childhood. The Queen’s own passion for this breed of herding dog began when she was seven, when her father, the future King George VI gave Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret a pair named Jane and Dookie by their father,

As a near-constant presence in her life, her corgis were often picture with her in press photographs taken by the press.

The Queen sitting on rocks beside a waterfall on the Garbh Allt burn with two corgis on the estate at Balmoral Castle, September 1971. Credit: Lichfield Archive via Getty Images

The earliest image dates from July 1936 shows the young Princess Elizabeth playing in the garden of 145 Piccadilly – the London house where she lived much of her early childhood – with Jane and Dookie.

As an 18th birthday present, Princess Elizabeth’s father gave her Susan, the corgi from which many of the dogs she would own were descended.

One of the photographs, taken on 30 May 1944, shows the Princess holding Susan as a puppy in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Her Majesty's corgis famously appeared alongside her, with James Bond actor Daniel Craig in a short film made for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.Following Her Majesty's death, it was announced that her son Prince Andrew and his ex-wife would take care of two of the Queen's corgis, Muick and Sandy.

The late monarch was gifted two puppies by Andrew at Windsor during last year's lockdown.

They kept the monarch entertained while her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, was in hospital.

The Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, outside Clarence House, 4 August 1983. Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The Queen named one of the puppies - Fergus the dorgi - after her uncle, who was killed in action during the First World War.

She named the other corgi Muick (pronounced Mick) after Loch Muick on the Balmoral estate.

But the monarch was devastated when five-month-old Fergus died just weeks after he was gifted to her, in the aftermath of Philip’s death.

He was later replaced with a new corgi puppy named Sandy, from Andrew's daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, for the Queen's 95th birthday.

Muick and Sandy were allowed to wait for the arrival of the Queen's coffin at Windsor for the Committal Service.

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