Inside Queen Elizabeth’s corgi obession: meet Susan, the royal’s first and favourite dog she snuck on her honeymoon in Scotland with Prince Philip, upholding her legacy by breeding her puppies

Queen Elizabeth loved dogs so much that her last two royal pets even attended her state funeral ... but how much do you know about her first and favourite corgi, Susan? Photo: AP

Queen Elizabeth’s last corgis, Muick and Sandy, showed up to pay their respects at her funeral committal ceremony in Windsor.

One of the most poignant moments at the queen’s funeral was the glimpse of her corgis waiting for her casket to pass by. It was as if they wanted to pay their final respects to their beloved owner.

The moving images of the dogs – together with photographs of Emma, the late monarch’s last pony – struck a chord with mourners across the world. Corgis had been a signature of the queen for more than seven decades.

She doted on the short-legged pets, including the dogs that her footmen brought to see her committal ceremony at Windsor Castle on Monday, September 19.

But how did the queen’s love affair with the adorable pups first begin? Meet her first corgi ever, Susan …

Meet Grace Kelly’s granddaughter who grew up in a circus, Pauline Ducruet

Queen Elizabeth was given her first and favourite corgi on her 18th birthday

Then Princess Elizabeth takes her pet dog for a walk in London’s Hyde Park, in 1936. Photo: AP Photo

Muick and Sandy were relative newcomers to the royal household. They were given to the queen as puppies to keep her company during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they offered comfort when her husband, Prince Philip, died last year at the age of 99.

But Sandy and Muick – the latter is named after one of the sovereign’s favourite lochs on her Scottish estate, Balmoral – represented a break from tradition. Neither of them descended from the queen’s first dog, a Pembroke Welsh corgi known as Susan.

The young Elizabeth was so enamoured by Susan, whom she received in 1944 as an 18th birthday present from her father, George VI, that she bred her. She wanted Susan’s legacy to be preserved through her puppies.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, with their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne, play with the queen’s corgi Sugar and the duke’s dog Candy at Balmoral castle, in 1955. Photo: AP Photo

Susan, who stayed at Queen Elizabeth’s side for 15 years before she died, played a such significant role in her life, the dog will be the subject of a forthcoming children’s book, The Corgi and the Queen, set to be released in January 2023.

The author, Caroline Perry, said that Susan’s family tree showed that she had dozens of descendants. Perry said many of them were raised by the monarch. The queen was believed to have owned at least 30 corgis during her unprecedented 70 years on the throne.

The queen wanted Susan’s legacy to be upheld

Queen Elizabeth loved corgis and owned dozens over the course of her life, many of which descended from Susan. Photo: @bbcworldservice/Twitter

“Susan was the queen’s first love and their friendship sparked a dynasty across 14 generations,” Perry said.

“She was clearly in love with this little animal and didn’t want things to end,” she added.

The monarch put a stop to the breeding programme in 2018 following the death of a treasured corgi named Willow. Willow turned out to be the last of Susan’s descendants. “The queen said she didn’t want them to outlive her,” Perry said.

Perry, a former journalist, spent months researching Susan’s story for her book. She discovered that the UK’s head of state yearned for her precious corgi whenever they were apart.

She smuggled the pet inside her wedding carriage so Susan could join her on her honeymoon in Scotland, following her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947, Perry said.

“She hid her under a woven rug on the floor of the carriage when she rode across London to greet the hundreds of thousands of well-wishers,” Perry said, adding, “It was probably a breach of royal protocol.”

Where does the UK royal family get all its money?

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip strolled near the George IV gateway of Britain’s Windsor Castle, in 1959. Photo: AP Photo

Perry said that none of the queen’s other dogs saw her through such “challenging times” as World War II and her coronation in 1953, “which happened under the sad circumstances of her father’s death” the year before.

Susan was ‘feisty’ and ‘a little bit wild’

Caroline Perry’s book, The Corgi and the Queen, will be out in January 2023. Photo: Macmillan

“A queen can’t really choose her own friends, but Susan was her chosen friend,” she said.

Perry added, “She was very much a confidante and Elizabeth could show her true emotions to that little dog.”

Perry described Susan as “feisty”, which, she said, “was interesting because the queen was very much not that way”.

“The queen was orderly and disciplined, and I think that’s part of what she loved about Susan,” Perry said. “She was sweet and affectionate, but she was a little bit wild. Maybe she was doing things that the younger Elizabeth wasn’t allowed to do.”

According to Amazon, Caroline Perry’s book, The Corgi and the Queen, will be released on January 3, 2023.

Susan once sank her teeth into a clock winder at one of the queen’s residences, according to Perry, and according to Newsweek, once bit a police officer.

“Luckily she didn’t cause any damage,” Perry said. “Corgis are working dogs and they do like to hurt people with a chomp of the ankle.”

Meet Saudi Arabia’s game-changing Princess Haifa

Susan was buried in a pet cemetery that was first established for royal pets by Queen Victoria

Queen Elizabeth poses for a photo with her corgi in 1970. Photo: AFP

“In Elizabeth’s sights, Susan was a staunch defender who could do nothing wrong,” Perry said.

The queen was heartbroken when Susan died in 1959. She was buried in a pet cemetery that Queen Victoria had founded on the Windsor estate of Sandringham. Perry said that Elizabeth chose the inscription on Susan’s grave and visited the spot.

Queen Elizabeth described Susan as her “faithful companion” in the inscription on her gravestone in a pet cemetery on the royal estate of Sandringham.

“She wrote to one of her correspondents, saying that she’d always dreaded losing Susan,” Perry said. The author concluded, “A lot of people might say, ‘it was just a dog,’ but the queen never forgot her.”

This article originally appeared on Insider.
Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
  • Susan was gifted to the then-princess by King George on her 18th birthday and stuck by her side for 15 years – all but two of the queen’s corgis descended from her
  • Over the decades, the dog-loving queen owned and bred over 30 corgis; her last two corgis, Muick and Sandy, even attended her funeral at Windsor Castle