Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Queen


This picture of Princess Elizabeth with her beloved Corgi, Dookie, is just one of a series of never-before-seen snaps which appear in a new book entitled Noble Hounds And Dear Companions, written by Sophie Gordon, Curator of the Royal Photograph Collection. It details the much-loved animals who have shared their lives with the Royal Family. This charming publication celebrates the important role played by dogs in the public and private lives of the Royal Family. It brings together over 200 affectionate, amusing and often poignant images of canine companions – from Dash, Queen Victoria’s beloved King Charles spaniel and Eos, Prince Albert’s elegant greyhound, to the famous corgis of the House of Windsor. Over the 150 years covered by the book, dogs appear centre stage in both formal studio portraits and as part of relaxed family groups. Most of the photographs come from private family albums and have never been published before. Dogs are seen riding in carriages, on board the royal yacht, on guard duty at Windsor Castle and in the arms of monarchs, consorts, princes and princesses.

Her Majesty The Queen is among the world’s leading breeders of Pembroke corgis. The first royal corgis, Dookie and Jane, were bought for the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose by their parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. A series of charming photographs taken at Windsor and in London in 1936 shows Princess Elizabeth’s affectionate relationship with the dogs. All of The Queen's corgis are descendants of Susan, who was given to the Princess as an 18th-birthday present in 1944. Her Majesty currently has nine dogs: five corgis and four dorgis (a dachshund and corgi cross). Photographs reveal the deep devotion shared by generations of dogs and their royal owners. Queen Victoria’s spaniel, Dash, was buried at Windsor with an epitaph that read: "His attachment was without selfishness, His playfulness without malice, His fidelity without deceit. READER, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of DASH." In a particularly tender image from 1863, Boy, the Queen’s favourite dachshund, is shown a few days before his death, watched over by a concerned housekeeper. King Edward VII’s terrier, Caesar, accompanied his master everywhere. He wore a collar with the inscription ‘I am Caesar. I belong to the King’ and was even immortalised in a tiny sculpture by the famous Russian jeweller, Carl Fabergé. Caesar achieved widespread fame on the King’s death in 1910, when the inconsolable dog walked behind his master’s coffin in the funeral procession.

Thank you Winchester Whisperer for bringing this to my attention.

7 comments:

Flowerpot said...

I'm weeping already at the thought of poor Caesar. Heard about the book on the news yesterday - looks a good one.

Winchester whisperer said...

Well done, ED: I knew you would give us some fascinating insights on the courtly corgis

VioletsVintage said...

What a wonderful post, would love a copy of that book!

jmb said...

Lovely post Eurodog. Love to see the book some time. I hope our library will buy it.
regards
jmb

Rebecca Taunton said...

An interesting post ED. Some lovely stories there, especially of Caesar's devotion. Sounds like a good book.

RT

Mopsa said...

the double page spread of these photos in the Guardian on Monday was fab. Article here:
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/art/news/story/0,,2181033,00.html
but sadly no piccies online

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Now that's a book I'd like a look at. I didn't know the names of the Queen's corgis. But does it tell us anything about Princess Anne's not-so-nice dogs?