When Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, died on Thursday at the age of 96, she left behind not just her nation and family members but a gaggle of canine companions.
Throughout her long life, she was regularly photographed with a Welsh corgi at her feet – a dog breed that became synonymous with the monarch.
But while every detail of what would happen following her death was minutely planned, little is known about what the future holds for her beloved pups, who will now be looking for new homes.
At the time of her passing, Queen Elizabeth is reported to have had four dogs.
According to the American Kennel Club, she had two Pembroke Welsh corgis, Muick and Sandy, as well as an older, mixed-breed “dorgi” called Candy. A cocker spaniel, Lissy, reportedly joined the gang in January this year.
The Queen was often credited with creating the dorgi breed when her corgi mated with a dachshund owned by her sister, Princess Margaret.
Joe Little, a royal biographer and managing editor of Majesty magazine, told CNN he believes the dogs will be cared for by royal staff before being adopted by Princess Anne and Prince Andrew.
“Princess Anne has had corgis of her own in the past,” he explained. “The two most recent additions came from the Duke of York and his daughters, so perhaps they could go to him. It’s unlikely that they’ll be split up.”
The Queen’s passion for corgis dated back to her childhood, when she fell in love with her father King George VI’s dog, Dookie. In 1944, on her 18th birthday, she was given a Pembroke Welsh corgi puppy named Susan. Such was her attachment to Susan, she reportedly took her on her honeymoon in 1947. Susan died in January 1959.
The monarch went on to own dozens of corgis in her lifetime. One, Willow, famously appeared alongside her in the James Bond sketch that she recorded for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
When Willow was put to sleep at the age of 14, the Queen lost the last descendant of her original corgi, Susan.
According to Reader’s Digest, the Queen had a fondness for corgis because of their “energy and untamed spirit.”