LONDON (Reuters) - The last of Queen Elizabeth’s corgi dogs, who appeared with the British monarch for a film segment during the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony, has died at the age of 14, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.
Willow, who was the 14th generation descended from the first corgi, Susan, owned by the 91-year-old queen since her 18th birthday, was put to sleep at Windsor Castle on Sunday, the paper said.
“The queen has mourned every one of her corgis over the years, but she has been more upset about Willow’s death than any of them,” a Buckingham Palace source told the Mail.
“It is probably because Willow was the last link to her parents and a pastime that goes back to her own childhood. It really does feel like the end of an era.”
Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying it was a private matter.
The first corgi, Susan, was given to the queen by her mother and her father, George VI, and she has owned more than 30 since. She still owns two other corgi dogs, Vulcan and Candy, a cross between a corgi and a dachshund, the Daily Mail said.
The monarch’s corgis earned a reputation for snapping at the heels of royal retainers as they carried out duties at her palaces. In 1999, the queen demoted one of her footmen after he got her pets drunk on whisky and gin by slipping spirits into their food and water.
However, the queen’s grandson Prince Harry said his fiance, U.S. actress Meghan Markle whom he marries next month, had charmed the dogs.
“The corgis took to you (Markle) straight away. I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at. This one walks in - absolutely nothing,” Harry said in a TV interview when they announced their engagement last November.
She replied: “Just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet.”
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison