Queen Elizabeth’s last corgi was put to sleep at Windsor Castle on Sunday, bringing to a close a canine lineage there that spanned more than 80 years.
Willow was 15 years old and facing a cancer-related illness, so the queen was forced to make the decision to end her beloved pet’s suffering, The Daily Mail reported.
Anonymous sources told the publication that Queen Elizabeth had been feeding and exercising Willow right until the weekend.
The dog’s condition took a turn for the worse on Sunday, and the decision was made to call a vet.
“She does not like seeing her dogs suffer and she knows that sometimes putting a dog down is the kindest course of action – although that doesn’t make her loss any less,” said an unidentified Buckingham Palace source.
Few leaders are as closely associated to an animal as Queen Elizabeth was with her corgis.
“My corgis are family,” she said in the past, according to Vanity Fair.
The corgi heritage extends back to 1933, when the Queen’s father George VI introduced a pet corgi, Dookie, into the Royal Family, The Daily Mail said.
Willow was a 14th generation descendent from Susan, a corgi that was given to the then Princess Elizabeth on her 18th birthday, and the dog has always held a special place in her heart.
So much so that in 2016 Willow was included in Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday portrait, Time reported.
With Willow’s death, this will be the first time that a corgi has not walked the halls of the Royal Palace for decades.
Insiders said the loss has hit the Queen “extremely hard,” according to the Daily Mail.
“She has mourned every one of her corgis over the years, but she has been more upset about Willow’s death than any of them,” an unidentified source said.
“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.”
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