The Queen once wrote a friend a six-page letter mourning the passing of her corgi, which had been killed in a fight with one of her mother’s dogs.
The melancholy nugget is among many eyebrow-raising revelations made in the latest installment of the published diaries of Kenneth Rose, the WASPish British newspaper columnist who died in 2014.
Rose was known as an enthusiastic chronicler of the British aristocracy in his lifetime via his legendary columns, and became one of the foremost experts of his age on the monarchy, thanks to his award-winning 1983 biography of King George V.
Her Majesty’s love of dogs is a frequent refrain in the first volume of the diaries, extracts of which were published in today’s Daily Mail, with another anecdote concerning Prince Charles acidly remarking that his mother is unlikely to attend a ceremony to open a new tennis court at Wimbledon because there were no “dogs or horses” involved.
The diaries, entitled “Who’s Up, Who’s Down,” also give insight into the Queen’s famously droll sense of humor: When one senior courtier fretted to Her Majesty about the difficulty of keeping food hot when served on gold plate, the Queen replied “People come here not to eat hot food, but to eat off gold plate.”
Her ruthless and unforgiving attitude to her uncle David, the former King Edward VIII, who abdicated so he could marry Wallace Simpson, is also revealed: She repeatedly vetoed plans to allow the Windsors to be invited to the Ascot races, the Mail reports.
An amusing strand of naiveté at the importance of her role is revealed in an entry dated May 1986, when the Queen, unexpectedly finding herself with a free evening as Philip was out of town, decided to throw a little dinner party.
Rose reports that she commented in amazement “And wasn’t I lucky? I asked about a dozen people at 24 hours’ notice, and by great good fortune they were all free to come!”
The story about the corgi missive comes from society decorator Pamela Hicks. Rose says that Hicks was in the habit of dropping a note to the Queen now and again relaying items of interest, but adds that Hicks tells him that: “The only time she has ever replied was when I sent my sympathy after one of her dogs had been killed by a Clarence House corgi. She then wrote six pages.”