Down to her last corgi: Pet that starred with Queen in 007 sketch dies at 13 (but at least she still has 2 dorgis)
- The Queen has been left distraught after Holly, 13, was put down last week
- The corgi, who was in the 2012 James Bond sketch, was suffering old age
- Her Majesty now has one Corgi, Willow, and two corgi-dachshund crosses
The Queen has been left distraught following the death of one of her two surviving corgis.
Thirteen-year-old Holly, who appeared in the celebrated James Bond sketch for the opening of the London Olympics in 2012, was put down at Balmoral last week.
The Queen took the heartbreaking decision to summon a vet for the dog, which was suffering from illness and the effects of old age.
On average, corgis age a little over six times faster than humans, making Holly the equivalent of 81, nine years younger than her royal mistress.
Queen Elizabeth II walking in the private grounds of Windsor Castle with her dogs: clockwise from top left Willow (corgi), Vulcan (dorgie), Candy (dorgie) and Holly (corgi)
It means that after more than seven decades of the continuous companionship of corgis, the Queen has only one left – Willow, also 13.
Insiders say she was ‘very sad’ after the decision was taken to have Holly put to sleep.
‘The Queen was deeply upset but she doesn’t like seeing her dogs suffer and Holly had reached a very good age,’ said one. ‘She gets more unsettled if they are distressed and she knows that putting a dog down is often the kindest solution.
‘She was devoted to Holly and wherever the Queen was, the dog was never far behind.’
I understand that the faithful companion, who was the leader of the royal dog pack, has been buried in the castle grounds at a spot the Queen can see from her drawing room window. In due course there will almost certainly be a headstone marking the resting place.
In her first acting role, the Queen was seen to leave Buckingham Palace with Bond, played by Daniel Craig, and clambered aboard a helicopter, leaving behind her corgis Monty, Willow and Holly
Along with Willow, she is left with just two dorgis – corgi-dachshund crosses – Vulcan and Candy. Earlier this year all four dogs were pictured with the Queen for the official portrait to mark her 90th birthday.
Last year it was revealed that she had stopped breeding Pembroke Welsh corgis because of fears that with younger dogs around her feet she might trip over one and hurt herself.
It also emerged that she no longer wanted any new four-legged companions to replace those that died, as had been the practice in the past.
Monty Roberts, the Californian cowboy who inspired the Hollywood film The Horse Whisperer and who has been an informal adviser to the Queen on her horses and dogs for more than a quarter of a century, disclosed that she did not want to leave any of her beloved pets behind when she dies.
Holly’s death came at the end of the Queen’s summer break, days before she was due to return to London. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘It is a private matter.’
The Queen with some of her Corgis walking the Cross Country course during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials
Since 1945 the Queen has had more than 30 corgis, a good proportion of them direct descendant of Susan which she was given by her parents on her 18th birthday. Her first puppies, Sugar and Honey, were born in 1949 and it marked the beginning of a new royal dynasty.
At one stage there were said to be 13 corgis lolling in the Queen’s private sitting room and nipping the heels of footmen, prime ministers and ladies in waiting.
Former royal butler Paul Burrell, whose duties included being armed with blotting paper and a soda syphon to mop up doggy accidents, claimed he was once knocked unconscious after nine corgis tripped him up.
Corgis have an average lifespan of 12 to 13 years, though some live longer. Kelpie, another royal favourite, lived to 17.
They haven’t all had long lives, however. In 2003 Pharos was savaged by Princess Anne’s bull terrier Dotty and had to be put down. And in 1989 the Queen Mother’s dog Ranger led a pack of corgis that killed Chipper, the Queen’s favourite dorgi.
The accepted rule of thumb is that dogs age seven times faster than humans, so you can multiply their age by seven to find a human equivalent. But different breeds age at different speeds.
MONTY: DOGS HELPED MY BLUES
Monty Don has revealed how the unconditional love of his dogs has got him through some of his darkest moments.
The Gardener’s World presenter, who has suffered from depression since his 20s, said he has benefited immensely from the ‘healing’ powers of his two golden retrievers, Nigel and Nellie, because they ‘get you outside’ and ‘love you all the same when you are feeling very unlovable’.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival yesterday, Don, 61, who is also a columnist in the Daily Mail’s Weekend magazine, said: ‘If you are unwell, physically or mentally a dog is a huge comfort.’
Television presenter Monty Don with his pet dogs Nellie and Nigel
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