By her Majesty’s Appointment: The Corgi

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The Queen at her desk in 1959 at the Palace, London. Courtesy of ‘Britain: Today’

 This week, an event has prompted me to consider the importance of the canine to our Royal Family. The event of course, is Crufts. (www.crufts.org.uk)

Patriotic and fun, Crufts inspires thousands each year to take the plunge and invite a dog into their world.

 Compact, sturdy and loyal, the Corgi was integrated into Royal Family life in 1933, when King George VI gave his daughter Elizabeth a Corgi, Dookie, for her 14th birthday. 70 years later, the Queen has owned over 30 Corgis and currently homes Willow and Holly, along with two cross-breed Dorgis, Candy and Vulcan.

Willow and Holly are a national treasure, despite their alleged naughtiness and refusal to co-operate with daily duties. They’ve starred aside James Bond at the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, and even have their own stained-glass window in the Chapel of the Savoy, London. Flashy!

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Queen Elizabeth II and her companions. Courtesy of ‘The Guardian’

But how have we come to associate the Corgi with iconic British Royal style?

Since 1942, Corgis have featured in all Royal portraits. 20 years ago, two private suites were added to the Queen’s private jet for her companions, so they might travel abroad with her on official errands.

But perhaps most importantly, as part of the ‘Jubilee hype’ of 2012, the popularity of Corgis in Britain has surged,  as well as production of British memorabilia mugs, flags and key rings – all starring the Corgi.

Jane Bromford breeds various show dogs including the Corgi, of which seven have participated in Crufts. She says, “The Corgi is vital to the Royal image because they are traditional hunting dogs, and would accompany generations of Royals on their recreational hunting trips. From then, the dog has gradually become part of the home, and has adapted to travel with Royalty.” (10/3/13)

The Corgi is becoming as iconic to Royal aesthetic style as the Princess Coat or the Top Hat.

Long live the Corgi!

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