1926 - 2022
We are truly saddened to hear the news of the Queen’s passing, and extend our deepest condolences to the Royal Family during this time.
To pay tribute to her life and legacy as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, we wanted to highlight the many contributions Queen Elizabeth II made during her reign.
Undeniably one of the greatest supporters of charity work both within Britain and across the Commonwealth, the Queen supported over 600 non-profit organisations, and helped to raise over £1.4 billion for her patronage charities.
Included in those organisations were more than 40 animal charities. An inspiration to the nation as an advocate for animal welfare, she also gave Royal Assent to several animal protection legislations throughout her years of public service.
As a community of animal lovers, we wanted to focus on the Queen’s work in this area and show our appreciation of her continuous commitment in protecting the natural environment and all species home to it.
"You've all seen pictures of the Earth taken from space. Unlike all the other planets in the solar system, Earth shimmers green and blue in the sunlight and looks a very pleasant place to live.
These pictures should remind us that the future of all life on earth depends on how we behave towards one another, and how we treat the plants and the animals that share our world with us."
- Queen Elizabeth II, 1989
The Queen's Speech & Animal Welfare
During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II opened every session of Parliament with The Queen's Speech bar the years of 1959, 1963 and 2022.
Over the years, The Queen's Speech has highlighted important animal welfare issues which have led to key changes.
Notably, the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 introduced the five welfare needs of animals, enabling organisations to take preventative action against animal suffering for the first time.
More recently - following The Queen's Speech 2021, the UK Government launched their Action Plan for Animal Welfare with several pledged actions, including:
- Recognise animal sentience: To make it a legal requirement to recognise the capacity animals have for feelings (including pain and suffering) through the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
- Mandatory cat microchipping: To introduce compulsory cat microchipping by the time kittens reach 20 weeks of age
- Take further steps to tackle puppy smuggling: By raising the minimum age for importing puppies from 15 weeks to six months, banning the import of dogs with cropped ears, docked tails and dogs that are heavily pregnant.
"When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future."
- Queen Elizabeth II, 2008
Queen Elizabeth II UK Animal Charities & Patronages
Patronages held by members of the royal family generally reflect their interests and passions.
The Queen's many animal related charities give an indication of the reported love and connection she had to animals from a young age.
As Royal Patron, the Queen was responsible for helping charities contributions be recognised by society, providing crucial publicity as an official representative and supporter of their work.
"Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever."
- Queen Elizabeth II, 2002
The list below includes the UK animal organisations that the Queen was royal patron of until the end of her reign:
- Ayrshire Cattle Society of Great Britain and Ireland
- Dogs Trust
- Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom
- Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society
- The British Horse Society
- The Fell Pony Society
- The Kennel Club
- The Labrador Retriever Club
- The Red Poll Cattle Society
- The Royal Guernsey Agricultural and Horticultural Society
- The Royal Pigeon Racing Association
- The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
- The Shikar Club
- The Shire Horse Society
- The Yellow Labrador Club
- The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association
The Royal Corgis
A huge part of the Queen's personal life was her relationship with her Pembroke Welsh Corgis. So much so that she homed over 30 Corgis during her reign.
We wanted to touch on the Queen's pets, which are believed by royal author Penny Junor to have given Queen Elizabeth II an important point of contact with the rest of society:
"Dogs and horses are her passion and it is with them, and the people who share that passion, that she truly relaxes. Horses are a rich man's game but dogs are not.
They are a great leveller, they attract people from all walks of life, and over the years, the Queen has had strong and genuine friendships with many of her fellow dog enthusiasts."
- All The Queen's Corgis by Penny Junor (2018)
1933, Dookie - Where it all began:
After visiting Corgis owned by the Marquess of Bath, Princess Elizabeth and Margaret are reported to have fallen in love with the breed, leading their father, King George VI, to bring three Corgi puppies to the family home.
Of the three puppies available, a Corgi later-named Dookie was reported to have been chosen by the princesses because of his longer tail, with the Queen commenting "so that we can see whether he is pleased or not".
Three years later, a Corgi named Rozavel Lady Jane was brought home to be a companion to Dookie.
1944, Susan - The progenitor of the Royal Corgis:
Ten years later, Queen Elizabeth II was gifted a Corgi named Susan for her 18th birthday.
Susan was the first of many Corgis and Dorgis (Dachshund x Welsh Corgi) the Queen owned, all of which were descended from Susan.
At the time of her marriage, Princess Elizabeth did not want to be separated from Susan, so the Royal Corgi was hidden under blankets as the Princess and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled through London en route to their honeymoon.
Following Susan's death in 1959, the Queen designed a sketch and inscription for her Corgi's tombstone, which was buried with Susan in her Norfolk country home Sandringham.
The Queen's Pets
It wasn't just Corgis that Queen Elizabeth II homed.
During her lifetime she also owned horses and other breeds of dogs including labradors, gun dogs and cocker spaniels.
Whenever possible, the Queen is reported to have fed her dogs herself, and took steps to ensure they were protected at all times - to the extent that she carried a magnet during dress fittings to pick up pins that risked pricking her dog's paws.
Queen Elizabeth II also enjoyed exercising her dogs, explaining that dog walks helped to clear her mind.
Rest In Peace, Your Majesty 🕊️
Along with the rest of the nation, we thank Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her life of service. May she rest in peace.
Illustration Credit: Florence & Lavender