The Queen’s Corgis’ Secret Life

They are fed in order of rank (of course) and feast off silver platters. So just how good is it to be a royal corgi?


They had a starring role in the James Bond mini-movie that launched the London Olympics, so perhaps it is only right that their owner insists they are fed and watered with the care and attention we might more usually associate with a particularly fastidious Hollywood star.

New details have emerged about the fabulous life of the queen’s corgis, which will surprise even the most loyal royal dogwatchers.

The dogs’ mealtimes—much like those of their owner—are characterized by strict protocol in which dogs are served in order of seniority, while their dinner is presented on silver salvers.

Each of the dogs, according to a feature in the new issue of Town & Country magazine, receives an “individually designed menu,” served by hand in strict order of each dog’s age.

Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist and behavioral therapist who works as the royal dog trainer, told the publication that the royal canines eat homeopathic and herbal remedies along with their dinner, which is presented to them by a butler on a battered silver salver.

Town & Country magazine has dedicated its next issue to the queen’s 90th birthday.

Mugford tells the magazine: “At feeding times, each dog had an individually designed menu, including an array of homeopathic and herbal remedies. Their food was served by a butler in an eclectic collection of battered silver and porcelain dishes.

“As I watched, the queen got the corgis to sit in a semi-circle around her, and then fed them one by one, in order of seniority.

“The others just sat and patiently waited their turn.”

That the corgis are well-behaved will come as no surprise to regular readers of the royalist. The Daily Beast has previously reported on the excellent behavior of the dogs.

Although Prince William says they drive him nuts, a filmmaker who worked on the Olympic film told The Daily Beast at the time that the queen’s corgis performed their roles better than the stand-ins, enabling the sequence to be shot in one take: “The queen’s corgis behaved impeccably,” said the source, “The stand-ins [used in the helicopter shot] were more tricky.”

The dogs are known to be among the most pampered pooches in Britain. Sources have told The Daily Beast that royal staff often joke that the pampered pets eat better than the human members of the royal family.

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Indeed, when on holiday in Balmoral once, the queen “went bonkers’ when she discovered her dogs’ supposedly freshly cooked meals were actually frozen and reheated. A footman was summoned and told to go down to the kitchens, where the chefs on duty were severely reprimanded.

Mugford told Town & Country: “The queen has definite views about how dogs should be cared for: She doesn’t tolerate unkindness, and I remember she took a very dim view of President Lyndon B. Johnson picking his dogs up by their ears. When she’s talking about her dogs or her horses, you see a completely different side to her: She relaxes.

“Dogs are great levelers, and they’re not influenced by social status, which must be a great relief to her.

“No wonder she enjoys being around them.”

The queen’s devotion to corgis, which were introduced to the royal family by George VI, dates back to her 18th birthday, when she received Susan, a Pembroke, as a gift.

She has gone on to own more than 30 of the dogs.

She currently owns just two, Holly and Willow, with two other “dorgis”—a cross-breed of a corgi and a daschund—named Candy and Vulcan. The Dorgis are a result of unplanned pregnancies resulting from romances with a dachsund named Pipkin, who belonged to Princess Margaret.

The queen is no longer breeding new pups as she knows none of her family members want to take on the corgis when she dies. Prince William, for example, is publicly not a fan of the dogs: “I don’t know how she copes with it,” he told an interviewer, “But her private life with her dogs and her riding and her walking, it’s very important to her. She has got to switch off. I would just question the noise!”

Departed dogs are buried with reverence at Balmoral.

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 from pricking their paws.

The author Brian Hoey wrote in his book, Not in Front of the Corgis, “Because the dogs hold such an important place in Her Majesty’s affections, the staff are careful not to offend them in any way. They dare not utter a remark in royal hearing criticizing the animals. The queen’s Corgis are allowed unrestricted access to any part of any royal residence; nowhere is off-limits... The palace footmen loathe the animals, as they are yappy and snappy. They also are not fully house-trained, so a supply of soda water and blotting paper is kept at hand just in case of any ‘little accidents.’”