Susan (dog)

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Species Dog
Breed Pembroke Corgi
Sex Female
Born 20 February 1944
Died 26 January 1959(1959-01-26) (aged 14)
Sandringham House, Norfolk
Resting place Sandringham House, Norfolk
52°49′47″N 0°30′50″E / 52.82972°N 0.51389°E / 52.82972; 0.51389
Owner Queen Elizabeth II

Susan (20 February 1944 – 26 January 1959) was a Pembroke Corgi dog owned by Queen Elizabeth II that was given to her on her eighteenth birthday. Following the dog's death in 1959, the Queen personally designed a memorial to be placed at Sandringham House. Susan was the first of a long line of Corgis and Dorgis (Dachshund/Corgi crosses) owned by the Queen, all of them descended from Susan. The dogs have often accompanied the Queen in her public appearances, and have thus come to feature prominently in her public image.


King George VI bought his first Pembroke Corgi in 1933 from the Rozavel Kennels in Surrey.[1] Named Dookie, he proved popular with his daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and so a second Corgi, Jane, was purchased.[2] He also owned six other dogs, but it was the Corgis that the young Princess Elizabeth was most fond of.[3]

Royal life[edit]

For her eighteenth birthday in 1944, the King gave a Pembroke Corgi named Susan to Princess Elizabeth.[2]

Princess Elizabeth did not want to be separated from Susan, so following her wedding to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey, Susan was hidden under rugs as the Princess and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled through London in an open carriage on the way to their honeymoon in Hampshire.[4] While on honeymoon, Susan accompanied the couple on their travels, including on a tour of Earl Mountbatten's Broadlands estate in a Jeep driven by Prince Phillip.[5]

In early 1959, Susan caused a stir when she bit a policeman who was patrolling Buckingham Palace. It was the fourth time she had bitten someone at the palace. On the previous occasions it had been a sentry, a detective, and the royal clock winder.[6]

Death and legacy[edit]

Following Susan's death on 26 January 1959, the Queen drew up plans for a memorial for her dog. She made a sketch of a gravestone and sent this, along with an initial inscription, to Robert Marrington, who dealt with the works on the Crown Estate.[4] The initial inscription on the gravestone was to read "Susan died 26 Jan 1959 for 15 years the faithful companion of the Queen."[4] However, after some further research by the Queen revealed Susan's date of birth, she suggested on 4 February 1959 that the date of birth be inserted into the inscription. On 18 February, she sent through a further revision to the inscription, requesting that it be changed to "almost 15 years" for the sake of accuracy.[4] The sketches were to be sold at auction in 2004, but the Royal Household stepped in and prevented the sale.[7] Susan was buried at Sandringham House.[8] Her descendants Sugar, Heather and Pharos joined her there in a small pet cemetery.[3]

Susan was the progenitor of the Queen's line of Corgis and Dorgis and she has bred over ten generations of Susan's descendants.[4] In 2009, the Queen decided to stop breeding her dogs following the deaths of two favourites to cancer.[9] As of 2011, the Queen still has six of Susan's descendants, three Corgis and three Dorgis.[2] During the course of her life, the Queen has owned more than thirty of Susan's descendants.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Queen meets the corgis Down Under". The Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Family pets". The British Monarchy. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Haddon, Celia (20 April 2006). "Her devoted canine companions – cocker spaniels, labradors and, of course, corgis". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Bennett, Will (10 April 2004). "Queen's moving tribute to her favourite corgi". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Princess, Phillip Take Honeymoon Joy Ride in Jeep". The Milwaukee Journal. 22 November 1947. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Queen's Dog Spots Man, Zip – Teeth in Pants". Calgary Herald. 16 February 1959. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Bates, Stephen (16 February 2004). "Palace stops sale of Queen's sketch for first corgi". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Reynolds, Emma (26 November 2012). "The Queen's Corgi graveyard". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Queen to stop breeding beloved corgis after more than half a century of royal pets". The Daily Mail. London. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2012.