Last Corgi From Royal Lines Has Died

It’s the end of an era
By Karen B. London PhD, April 2018, Updated June 2021

Queen Elizabeth II is mourning the death of Willow, one of her beloved Corgis, who died at the age of nearly 15. The dog had been battling cancer for some time. The Queen has grieved for every Corgi she has lost, but this is an especially difficult loss because Willow is the last in a long line of Corgis that she has bred and that have shared the palace with her.

The Queen received a Corgi named Susan as a gift from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, when she turned 18 and she bred dogs from that original dog for 14 generations. After owning more than 30 Corgis descended from Susan and as she nears her 92nd birthday, she has said good-bye not just to Willow, but to the entire line. She decided years ago that she would breed no more dogs in order to avoid leaving a young dog behind and because of her concerns that she was becoming too old to be responsible for them. It is well known that she has taken care of her dogs herself, walking them daily and spending a lot of time with them.

Corgis will forever be associated with Queen Elizabeth II. Willow was in the official portrait made for her 90th birthday, and The Crown often shows the Queen with Corgis. Perhaps the most famous appearance of her dogs was in the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics, in which Willow was one of the dogs who appeared with the Queen and James Bond. (The Corgis first appear at 0:51 and last appear at 2:27.)Queen Elizabeth still has two Dorgis (Corgi-Dachshund Mixes) named Vulcan and Candy. Additionally, she is believed to have a Corgi named Whisper who she adopted after the death of his guardian—a gamekeeper at her private estate. (Rumor has it that she walked Whisper daily when the man was too ill in the last weeks of his life to do so.)

Though the palace has made no official comment on Willow’s passing, considered a private matter, there have been reports that the Queen is taking it very hard. The general consensus is that she is heartbroken and devastated. No matter what your position in life is, there is no real consolation when a dog you love dies. I can understand little about the Queen’s life, but I can understand this, and my heart is filled with sympathy for her.


Photo: Screenshot from BBC

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life