It all began with Dookie.

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Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth has had a few trusty companions by her side. Her sister, Princess Margaret, was her confidant before her death in 2002, and the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, has been with her since before she took over the crown. But, perhaps her most important friend along the way has been her bevy of corgis.

It’s believed that the Queen has been the mother to more than 30 corgis throughout her life. And it all began with a single pup — a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Dookie.

Princess Elizabeth sitting with her corgis, Jane and Dookie, in 1936.
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According to Vanity Fair, Queen Elizabeth received the dog as a gift on her seventh birthday in 1933. In 1944, she once again received a corgi as a gift, this time a lady named Susan. The pair were truly inseparable. Susan even accompanied the Queen and Prince Philip on their honeymoon. And, in 1949, Susan gave birth to her first litter of puppies, which then began the Queen’s long line of breeding.

And Susan’s line is a significant one as she is now the common ancestor of 14 generations of royal corgis.

“The Queen is the only breeder who still has bred from her foundation bitch,” Diana King, the chairman of the Welsh Corgi League, shared with Vanity Fair.

According to King, other corgi owners are big fans of the Queen’s dogs as they apparently have been bred for their very specific color.

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“She preferred the darker red, as they used to be. She preferred them with not too much white on them,” King explained. In fact, when the Queen met one of King’s own dogs she apparently remarked, “Oh, he’s got a lot of white on him, hasn’t he?”

And, these four-legged friends are truly treated like every other member of the royal family.

"Each dog had an individually designed menu, including an array of homeopathic and herbal remedies,” animal psychologist Dr. Roger Mugford, who has worked with the royal family’s pets, told Town & Country. “Their food was served by a butler in an eclectic collection of battered silver and porcelain dishes...the Queen got the corgis to sit in a semi-circle around her, and then fed them one by one, in order of seniority, as the others sat patiently and waited their turn."

Sadly, in April of 2018, the Queen said goodbye to her last remaining corgi, Willow. According to one family source, the dog is buried on the castle grounds. Willow’s grave will reportedly be marked with a headstone that simply reads, “A faithful companion of the Queen.”