Queen Elizabeth’s love for her various corgis over the years was well documented, but thanks to a new book, The Corgi and the Queen, a secret detail about how she incorporated her favorite dog into her wedding day has come to light.
The forthcoming picture book by Caroline Perry celebrates this lifelong relationship between the late monarch and her favorite pets. And, in an interview with People, Perry recalled the secret role the late royal’s dog Susan played in her wedding to Prince Philip. The couple got married 75 years ago this month, on November 20, 1947, with thousands of people gathered to celebrate them. But what none of those people realized is that as the future monarch and her new husband were ferried away on their honeymoon in a carriage, the then-Princess Elizabeth had already stashed Susan away under her seat with a rug with a hot water bottle to keep her warm.
Perry told the outlet, “That was such a lovely detail, that she wanted to have her best friend by her side on the biggest day of her life. You can kind of see from Elizabeth’s face—she was beaming.” From there, Elizabeth and Philip were taken to Waterloo Station where they and Susan traveled by train to Hampshire. The trio was photographed together a few days later playing on a lawn. While the late queen always had dogs, and particularly corgis, surrounding her throughout her childhood, Susan was a particular favorite. The Pembroke Welsh corgi was a gift for her 18th birthday and her most trusted companion throughout World War II and the death of her father, King George VI, which made her queen at just 25 years old.
The monarch would go on to own 14 generations of corgis and dorgis—a cross between a corgi and a dachshund—that were all descended from Susan over the course of her lifetime. “A lot of people wonder why she chose the corgi breed,” Perry said. “People who have corgis will tell you—they’re such amazing dogs, but not easy dogs. They’re very spirited—some of her corgis did get into scrapes; Susan did get in trouble a couple of times. Even for a very experienced dog handler like the Queen, corgis are not for novice dog owners. The fact that she loved them so much, I think it speaks to the fact that she wasn’t able to express her emotions and feelings.” She continued, “She really used her dogs as an expression of herself. She couldn’t choose her life, but she could choose her companions. The fact that these corgis are so spirited, so lively and so mischievous, I think in some way that was her way of expressing how she felt inside but wasn’t able to convey. She was so prim and proper and never put a foot wrong, did she? Yet these naughty dogs are doing all kinds of things that maybe she wished she could do.”
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