5-minute listening: Queen Elizabeth and her corgis – how these dogs became part of the British royal family

  • Throughout the late monarch’s 70 years on the throne, her corgis were by her side on official tours and in her home
  • Practise your English with our short listening exercises: play the audio linked below; answer the questions; check the answers at the bottom of the page
Doris Wai |

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Queen Elizabeth owned around 30 corgis and small dogs that remain inseparable from her image. Photo: AFP


1. What does the “moving carpet” at the beginning of the podcast refer to?
A. a sort of fabric
B. a dog breed
C. a mobile vehicle
D. a type of furniture

2. Which of the following best describes something “stubby”?
A. It is short and thick.
B. It weighs a lot.
C. It moves very slowly.
D. It is not easily damaged.

3. How many corgis has the queen had in total?
A. less than five
B. between 10 and 15
C. more than 20
D. more than 50

4. What is the name of the first corgi the queen was photographed with?
A. Welsh
B. Cookie
C. Pembroke
D. Dookie

5. What is a “dorgi”?
A. the name for a corgi that lives in a palace
B. a type of purebred corgi
C. a cross between a dachshund and a corgi
D. none of the above

6. Someone’s “persona” refers to …
A. the aspect of their character that they show to others
B. the qualities that make them interesting
C. the features that make a person different to others
D. their nature as shown in how they react to different situations

7. According to the podcast, which corgi usually accompanied the queen on her official tours?
A. Susan
B. Dookie
C. Willow
D. information not given

8. At Buckingham Palace, where did the corgis reportedly sleep?
A. with the queen
B. in their own room
C. on the queen’s throne
D. with other members of the royal family

9. According to the podcast, what were the corgis doing in the 2012 Summer Olympics video?
A. jumping out of a helicopter
B. having tea with the queen
C. chasing James Bond
D. information not given

10. What was Penny Junor’s book about?
A. the queen’s pet dogs
B. the history of corgis
C. how to care for corgis
D. how different dogs are bred

11. According to the podcast, what was likely a reason the queen brought her corgis along while receiving visitors?
A. to impress people with her knowledge of dogs
B. to fill the silence in conversations
C. to protect her from threats
D. all of the above

12. When did Willow pass away?
A. 2000
B. 2008
C. 2018
D. 2020

13. What decision did the queen supposedly make after Willow’s death?
A. to adopt another dog
B. to not have any more dogs
C. to name her new dog after Willow
D. to breed a new type of dog with a longer lifespan

14. If you go to someone “for comfort”, you hope that they will make you feel …
A. more sympathetic
B. more appreciated
C. less hostile
D. less grief

15. How many dogs did the queen have when she passed away?
A. one
B. three
C. four
D. seven

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


1. B
2. A
3. C
4. D
5. C
6. A
7. D
8. B
9. D
10. A
11. B
12. C
13. B
14. D
15. C


Voice 1: For many people around the world, corgis are forever linked to the late Queen Elizabeth who passed away on September 8. Princess Diana once called these dogs a “moving carpet” that was always by her mother-in-law’s side. Stubby, fluffy little dogs with a high-pitched bark, corgis were the late queen’s constant companions since she was a child. She owned nearly 30 of them throughout her life, and they enjoyed a life of privilege fit for royal pets.

Voice 2: Elizabeth’s love for corgis began in 1933 when her father, King George VI, brought home a Pembroke Welsh corgi they named Dookie. Images of a young Elizabeth walking the dog outside their lavish London home would be the first among many to come over the decades.

Voice 1: When she was 18, she was given her own corgi and named it Susan, the first in a long line to come. Later, there were dorgis – a dachshund and corgi crossbreed – owned by the queen. Eventually, they came to accompany her in public appearances and became part of her persona.

Voice 2: Throughout Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, the corgis were by her side, accompanying her on official tours, reportedly sleeping in their own room at Buckingham Palace with daily sheet changes, and occasionally nipping the ankles of the odd visitor or royal family member.

Voice 1: Three of them even appeared alongside the queen as she climbed into James Bond’s waiting helicopter in the spoof video that opened the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Voice 2: British author Penny Junor documented their feisty lives in a 2018 biography All the Queen’s Corgis. She writes that Elizabeth walked and fed the dogs, chose their names, and when they died, buried them with individual plaques. Care for the corgis had fallen largely on the queen’s trusted dressmaker and assistant Angela Kelly and her page Paul Whybrew.

Voice 1: The corgis were also present when the queen welcomed visitors at the palace, including distinguished statesmen and officials. When the conversation lulled, Elizabeth would often turn her attention to her dogs to fill the silence.

Voice 2: After the death of her corgi Willow in 2018, it was reported that the queen would not be getting any more dogs. But that changed during the illness of her late husband, Prince Philip, who died in 2021 at the age of 99. She turned once again to her beloved corgis for comfort. On what would have been Philip’s 100th birthday last year, the queen was reportedly given another dog. In addition to her human family, Elizabeth is survived by two corgis, a dorgi, and a cocker spaniel.

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