It’s no secret that the members of the Royal Family regard dog’s like man’s best friend. The Queen and her corgis, or Prince William and Kate’s cocker spaniel, Lupo. Many other royals have beloved pets, as common as dogs and as exotic as a giraffe.
The Queen not only has a say in her corgis, but personally names each of the dogs born at The Royal Kennels at Sandringham, which is home to about 20 dogs. Prince Charles must have inherited his love for the animals from his mother as Camilla, and he have two Jack Russells, Tosca and Rosie.
Queen Victoria gave all her attention to her border collies after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. She had sculptures of her favourites made, and one of the border collies, Noble, is buried at Balmoral. On his gravestone it reads: ‘Noble by name and by nature noble too, Faithful companion sympathetic true, His remains are interred here’.
Her border collies were not her only love. On a trip one day, Queen Victoria came to the rescue of a mistreated working donkey. She bought him from his owners and named him Jacquot. After nursing him back to health, he was trained to pull a one-person carriage and travelled with The Queen everywhere she went, including international trips.
Animals have been given as gifts for hundreds of years to members of the Royal Family. While today the Royal Family finds homes for them in zoos or animal sanctuaries, this wasn’t always the case. In 1764, India gave King George III a cheetah, and Belgium’s King Leopold II gave the Royal Family racing pigeons in 1886, which started the tradition of keeping and racing pigeons at Sandringham.
In 1827, Egypt gifted King George IV a giraffe. This was the first time most people in Britain had ever seen one. I can only begin to imagine what an experience that would be!
Today’s Royal Family aren’t left out when it comes to animal presents. Princess Anne was given a brown Syrian bear by Soviet Leaders and Her Majesty has received beavers from Canada, giant turtles from Seychelles, an elephant named Jumbo from Cameroon and two sloths from Brazil in 1968.
Lastly, my favourite royal animal fact is an experience Queen Victoria had at the London Zoo. Upon her visit, she encountered an orangutan named Jenny “preparing and drinking tea”. Even now I would pay to see that.
It seems that despite their titles, the Royal Family is just like us. The love of animals has continued from centuries past and will continue for many to come. I’m looking forward to seeing Prince George and his first pet of his own!
Photo Credit: tanakawho via Flickr