Queen’s Last Corgi and ‘James Bond’ Star Willow Has Died

Concerned about her own mortality, the queen has stopped breeding her beloved corgis, which has made the death of Willow all the harder to bear.


A sad milestone for Queen Elizabeth was passed this weekend.

Her last corgi, Willow, was put to sleep after a long battle with canine cancer.

The 15-year-old dog famously starred in the 2012 James Bond skit that opened the London Olympic Games. A producer who worked on the sketch with the monarch and the dogs told the Daily Beast at the time that Willow behaved “impeccably” during the shoot.

The dog was put down at Windsor Castle on the orders of the queen, after a long struggle with cancer, the Daily Mail reports.

The Daily Beast has previously reported that the queen privately told close friends and family that she will not be breeding any more corgis, as she was concerned about who will look after them when she is gone.

Prince William has previously expressed his dislike for the dogs, which are prone to yapping—“They’re barking all the time... I don’t know how she copes with it,” William once said—and Prince Charles is said to not be a fan of the distinctive animals.

Willow was descended from a long line of royal corgis, and her death marks the end of an era for Her Majesty, who has been breeding and pampering corgis since she was given Susan, her first corgi, by her father when she was a teenager.

Willow, the Daily Mail reports, was the 14th generation descended from Susan.

A source told the Mail: “She has mourned every one of her corgis over the years, but she has been more upset about Willow’s death than any of them.

“It is probably because Willow was the last link to her parents and a pastime that goes back to her own childhood. It really does feel like the end of an era.

“Willow represents a significant thread running through the queen’s life from her teenage years to her nineties. For many, many years she bred and raised corgis and to think that the last one has now gone is something of a milestone.”

The queen still has two dorgis—corgi-dachshund cross breeds—named Cider and Vulcan. The dorgi line results from an unplanned liaison between a corgi and Princess Margaret’s dachshund, Pipkin. They will continue to travel with her, sleep in raised wicker baskets in a special boot room near the royal apartments, and have license to wander freely around the palace.

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The queen was given her first dog, a Cairn terrier, at the age of 3 by her uncle, the Prince of Wales.

Should the queen feel in need of further canine company, there are still a number kept in the royal kennels at Sandringham. The kennels were established by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1879 to house 100 dogs, and are now home to some 20 gundogs, including Labradors and cocker spaniels.