An extensive study of the Queen and her dogs in this week's Country Life magazine reveals that the Queen has a Labrador named Gryffindor, after the house that Harry Potter belongs to at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
His name was chosen by the Queen who personally names all of the puppies bred at Sandringham, the Queen’s country estate in Norfolk. Gryffindor is one of the "Harry Potter" litter but the magazine does not say what other names have been used for its siblings.
The kennels, established by Edward VII in 1879 to house 100 dogs, are now home to some 20 gundogs, labradors and cocker spaniels of variety of ages.
Country Life magazine interviewed the Queen’s kennelman at Sandringham, Alan Goodship, 54 and Bill Meldrum, the Queen’s former head game keeper.
“Her Majesty is a real countrywoman,” Mr Meldrum told the magazine.
The Queen’s well documented love-affair with dogs started from a young age. As a young princess, she was given her first dog, a Cairn terrier, at the age of three by her uncle, the Prince of Wales.The Queen’s three current Pembroke Welsh corgis (Monty, Holly and Willow) are all descended from Susan, an 18th-birthday present. She also has three ‘dorgis’ (Cider, Candy and Vulcan), a cross-breed resulting from an unplanned liaison between a corgi and Princess Margaret’s dachshund Pipkin.
When at Buckingham Palace, the corgis and dorgis sleep in raised wicker baskets in a special boot room near the royal apartments, where they wander freely. When The Queen is being fitted for a dress, she carries a special magnet to pick up the pins to save the corgis pricking their paws.
Royal aides say that the corgis travel with her to the various residences and she looks after them herself as much as possible given her busy schedule.
Earlier this week William said that the yapping of the Queen's corgis drives him nuts.
"They're barking all the time ... I don't know how she copes with it," he said.
The interview was part of the magazine’s 370-page tribute edition for the Diamond Jubilee, which also reports the following royal animal facts:
- The Queen is president of several pigeon-racing societies and regularly visits the royal loft at Sandringham, home to more than 200 birds. It was established in 1886, when Leopold II of the Belgians gave the Royal Family racing pigeons (left). A royal pigeon won a Dickin medal for its role in reporting a lost air-craft in the Second World War.
- The Queen technically owns all mute swans in Britain; which are looked after by the Swan Marker.
- The Queen still owns all the sturgeons, whales and dolphins in UK waters
- The Queen often receives animals as gifts, including sloths from Brazil, black beavers from Canada, a canary from Germany, giant turtles from the Seychelles and an elephant called Jumbo from the Cameroon. The animals are given to London Zoo.
Sixty years and hardly a slip.