Queen Elizabeth has said goodbye to one of her faithful companions.
Her last corgi – which she adopted from a former staffer – has died. Whisper had been the last one of her set of famous corgis, following the death of Willow earlier this year.
The 92-year-old monarch had inherited Whisper in 2016 from Bill Fenwick, a former gamekeeper at Sandringham, who had passed away. His late wife, Nancy, used to look after the dogs when the Queen was traveling. But it has now emerged that Whisper, who was 12, has died too – around a week ago at Windsor Castle.
The Queen does still have her two dorgis – a cross between her longtime favorites corgis and dachshunds, Candy and Vulcan – who like the then-living corgis, appeared in a striking set of portraits shot for the Queen’s 90th birthday by Annie Leibiovitz.
The news of Whisper’s death comes from Richard Kay, who writes in the Daily Mail that the Queen had “become very attached to the dog. Whisper was a friendly chap.”
Whisper’s death follows that of Willow, the last in a line that was descended from her original corgi Susan, who died in April.
The furry companions, who would travel with the Queen between her various homes, are synonymous with the sovereign, and stuffed versions are even for sale in the palace shops. (But she does also have some beloved Labradors, kenneled mainly at Sandringham.)
As a young princess, the future monarch was given Susan on her 18th birthday, but it was her father, King George VI, who introduced the first of the short-legged dogs into the family with a corgi named Dookie in 1933. A second, Jane, was added — and when she had a litter of puppies, two named Crackers and Carol were kept.
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Elizabeth’s adopting of Whisper came despite her saying some years ago she didn’t want to have any more dogs – in part because it risked her tripping over one of the pets and also she didn’t want to leave any young dogs behind.