Picture the scene: it’s coronation day in London. King Charles III and Queen Camilla have the eyes of the world on them as their historic ceremony plays out in Westminster Abbey. Not far away, though, you can hear the telltale barks of a very different event playing out on the King’s Road. You might even call it a parade of paws... But in reality, the reason for this unusual spectacle is deeply rooted in the history of the British royal family.
A royal affinity for dogs
In truth, the coronation of a new king being closely associated with man’s best friend isn’t entirely surprising. The royals have had a strong affinity for dogs for centuries, even going all the way back to 1649! For example, if legend is to be believed, Charles I insisted on having his spaniel Rogue by his side when he was executed during the English Civil War.
Charles II and his spaniels
Charles I’s son Charles II was even more fond of spaniels, which explains why modern Cavalier King Charles spaniels are named in his honor. He would reportedly insist his 12 doggos went everywhere with him: even to court, to church, and to council meetings! In his diary, diarist Samuel Pepys griped, “All I observed was the silliness of the King playing with his dogs all the while, and not minding his business.”
Victoria and Dash
Fast-forward a few hundred years, and Queen Victoria was also a dog mom. She particularly loved a spaniel named Dash; he was given a truly poignant epitaph when he went to doggy heaven in 1840. It read, “His attachment was without selfishness, his playfulness without malice, his fidelity without deceit. Reader, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of Dash.”
Incredibly, Victoria was said to have owned a mind-boggling 88 collies over the course of her long life. She also fell in love with a dachshund called Deckel, and another named Waldman VI. Indeed, according to the official royal family website, while Deckel may have come into her life first “it was Waldman VI who became known as ‘the very favourite dachshund of Queen Victoria.’”