The Day I Drew Blue
Confessions of a Royal Corgi
It certainly made the headlines, the day one of the Queen's beloved corgis turned on her. She needed three stiches and the country needed an explanation. So we sent our man to the Palace to interview the errant corgi. Here is the miscreant's verbatim account as sold to Hunter Davis.
This is going to cost you. No one has yet heard the inside story of how the Queen was savagely attacked. Oh, I've had offers to reveal who did it. The paparazzi are still sleeping on the walls of Buck House. Some creep called James Whitaker sends me tins of Winalot even day. How dumb can you get. Just shows the level of these self-appointed royal experts. I have never, but never, eaten from a tin in my life. No royal corgi ever has. The very idea.
Listen pal, if I'm telling you everything, but everything man, then I don't want paid in old dog biscuits, get my drift. The media still don't know who did it. You'd expect The Times to have good contacts, wouldn't you, but they couldn't name the quality dog. Look here, in my cuttings book, this is their headline the next day. 'Windsor Seven top suspects in a royal biting.' Pathetic. 'The assassin's identity is not being disclosed.'
So if I tell you who did it, you'll have a world scoop. I'll also throw in my life story. Let's say six figures. Don't try patting me, you dope. I said figures, not fingers.
Some of my cuttings are pure rubbish. I hate the Sun and those other tabloids. I've seen what they've done to our lot over the years. Remember that photo of Prince Charles kissing some blonde? They suggested, nudge nudge, he was up to no good. We all knew it was a family friend, whose daughter was dying. He was comforting her, not chatting her up. Diabolical.
They've tried it on me. There's that pic of me cocking my leg as if I'm about to pee on the Queen. I'm actually having my nails clipped, but they cut out the vet and moved the Queen nearer. What a liberty. I wouldn't give them kennel room.
You should see the so-called witty captions I've had to put up with. 'I'm barking mad,' says royal corgi. "How now, Bow Wow.' Or they snap me when I'm asleep and call it 'Dog tired'. How corny can you get? So I never talk to them now, even though they hound me all the time. Sorry. Whoops. Just slipped out. Oh no. There's another one.
It doesn't stop them making up my quotes of course. Even worse is when they say it's from 'a close friend of the royal corgis', or 'a normally reliable corgi source'. As if any of our friends would ever leak things to that lot.
Anyway, I'm restricting my media appearances to TV from now on. You do realise the BBC are making a film about me, even as we speak? They say it's about a year in the life of the Queen, or some such cobblers, for showing this Christmas, but you know who the star will be. No question. Yours truly.
OK then. I'll accept 50 grand. As it's you. And a lifetime's supply of sugar cubes. Pull up a basket and sit down.
* * * * *
What you have to realise is that the Queen loves corgis more than she loves anything else. On her honeymoon she took Susan with her. Well would you want to be stuck all day with Prince Philip? Hold on, take that out. I'm not here to rubbish him. Just a joke, Susan was my, let me work it out, great-grandmother, not quite direct, little bit of cross-blanket leg-over stuff here and there, we needn't go into that, don't want those, corgis to know that I'm not pure royal bred.
My great-grandfather was Billy. She loved him. She once broke up a Christmas lunch at Sandringham to rush to Windsor, just cos he was poorly. He had to be put down in the end. She was in mourning for weeks. Wore a black headscarf when she took us for walkies.
The Queen Mother began it all when she gave the Queen her first corgi, Dookie. when she was about seven. That's almost 60 years ago now. And that's really when the problems first began. It created two corgi camps - the Queen's and the Queen Mum's. The Buck House Mob, which I now have the honour to lead, versus the Clarence House Gang. Every time we meet, it's wham, bam, sorry Ma'am. Me and the Buck House lads are sworn to take no lip, and no teeth, whenever we meet anyone from that lot.
Normally, we hardly meet. This is our patch, at Buck House, and we rule OK. We have our own life, our own routines.
Every morning, we wake at seven, just like all the royal corgis, when a flunkey comes to the kennels. Except for me. No one knows this, but I think I can trust you to handle it tastefully. I know if I sold my story to one of those disgusting, tatty, Sunday papers they would sensationalise it. I live mostly in the Queen's bedroom.
What happened was that I found out that Ranger, over at Clarry House, sleeps in the Queen Mum's bedroom. Couldn't have that, could I? How could I hold my head up over here? Call myself a leader? A few of the lads started to pull my leg, which led to a few nips, just to sort them out, so one evening, after tea, I refused to budge. Sort of a lie-down strike. A few sheets went, couple of ripped chairs, a bit of blood on the carpets, nothing unusual really, but I made the message clear. If she chucked me out, that was it. She'd have to find another leader. She got the message. Deep down I know she wanted me to stay with her, for company, cheer her up.
When we're not scheming against the Clarry House lot we take it out on the flunkeys. Stupid lot, especially the one who takes us out for morning walkies, when we get dragged round the gardens. Correction. We drag him round the gardens. We go out on these 50-metre leads. It's the only way they think they can control us. When I give the signal, all seven of us dash like hell in different directions. You should see the flunkey panic. Then he trips over and over and we go for the kill. On average we get through a new flunkey every seven days.
I'm usually in her study for the rest of the morning, while she's seeing all these endless people. I know which drears to hurry along. A swift dart at the ankles usually gets rid of them. Princess Michael's next on the list. Her attitude to corgis is downright disrespectful.
I quite like Lady Di, except for her blessed music. Gets on my wick. Charles means well, but he will talk to us, on and on. He doesn't realise all we want is choccies, not a load of gibberish. We hardly see Philip. He has his own quarters, keeps himself to himself.
The best of the day is our afternoon run. She usually takes us herself. When we see her putting her old headscarf on, that's the sign. All the lads recognise it, and we immediately jump around and get really excited. If she turns up with her tiara on, forget it. That means she's going to work. Boring, boring.
Afterwards, at five o'clock prompt, she feeds us, mixing the stuff up with her silver spoon. I prefer red meat any time.
So that's the basic day, but we do a lot of travelling. Going on Britannia is the best fun. We all go mad once we're on board trying to see who can make the biggest mess.
I have a fear of flying. I get scared, feel sick, then my migraine comes on. Luckily, we hardly fly, except in Britain. Quarantine regulations, or something stupid like that.
We do a hell of a lot of driving. too much really. That's why we wrecked that Land-Rover last year. We were stuck in the back, all seven of us, for hours, while she was looking at some draggy Highland cattle, so we let rip. Tore up every seat. Good fun actually. If I come back as a human, I think I'll be a soccer hooligan.
Right, if you've got your pen ready, here's the names of the Buck House mob. Well there's me the leader, as I think I've told you. Spark, known as Sparky. Welsh, actually. Mark Hughes of Man Utd is named after me. Not many know that. He's also Welsh, from Wrexham. We're a bit classier, from Pembroke. In the old days we used to round up cows. Then there's Myth, Fable, Diamond and Kelpie. Yes, five. Well done. So you can count. Five names. That's all you need to know.
Yes, I know about the Seven Dwarfs of Windsor stuff. That's one of her silly jokes. OK then. The other two in our mob. hangers-on really, they're called Phoenix and Pharos.
I might as well explain. Yes, it does have something to do with the Big Fight. I'm coming to that.
They're only half-corgis, see, a cross between a dachshund and a corgi. That's why they're called dorgis. Gerrit. Who needs them, I say. When we want to annoy them, we sing 'How Much Is that Dorgi in the Window'.
We've got a sort of a working relationship now, but from time to time, one of them gets a bit stroppy and things can get nasty. I'll come to that in a minute. Mostly, though, we work together as a team against the common foe, such as guardsmen. Of course we don't hate them. It's just a bit of sport, keeping in practice for the real stuff.
When it comes to other dogs, well that's serious, we do get the boot in, if we can. Retaliate before being attacked, that's my motto. I was only a puppy when we got Heather. One of the Clarry gang. Look her up in the cuttings. Had to have her leg amputated. Served her right. The bitch.
Two years ago they got their own back. They got Chipper, the Queen's favourite at the time. I tried to help, but it was too late, they'd cornered her. Killed, stone dead. That's when I became leader of the pack.
We've all vowed to have revenge, but until this March we'd never been allowed near them. Then there was this do at Windsor, the Queen was having a family party. She loves all that.
Charades, funny voices, dressing up, trying to guess who each person is. It can get very noisy and bring on my migraine, especially when it's that Fergie and Andy. If they ever came back as dogs we wouldn't have them. Too bleeding boisterous.
Hold on, it's coming back to me now. It was something to do with Prince Edward. Good bloke, Eddie. A bit more artistic. His birthday's in March. I think, I never remember dates. Ask Pharos. He remembers everything. Proper know-all.
The Queen Mum was there, natch, so while they're guzzling and playing their stupid family games, we all get taken for a walk together by the same flunkey. They're all a bit dopy, the Windsor flunkeys, rural types, no street cred, no bottle.
The lads were waiting for me to give a signal. The signal to attack Ranger. But just when I'm about to, Myth and Pharos start pushing each other, nothing serious, just messing around. Oh I dunno why. Something to do with some graffiti that's been written on his kennel. 'Pharos is a Phairy.'
Anyway, they seem to have calmed down, so I give the nod, and we all go for Ranger, but just then Pharos starts on Myth this time, saying he was really christened Miss, but the vet had a lisp. The rest of our mob start on Pharos, as no dorgi gets away with that sort of lip, so instead of all going for Ranger, we're fighting among ourselves.
Suddenly, this woman with long blonde hair rushes out and tries to separate us, so i give her a quick bite on her hand. She screams in agony - and her blonde wig falls off. Blow me, it's the Queen! I thought it was Princess Michael. Turns out she'd put this wig on for one of their potty games. Guess the phony, or something.
So I'm the guilty one. But it was an accident. Honest. Would I bite the hand that feeds me? Would I hurt the hand that needs me?
Queen Elizabeth with Sparky
She does, you know. We're an emotional release for her. The trick cyclist she took me to once told me that. Then he made one of his jokes, because he could see me and the Queen are so close. Corgi and Bess, he called us. Not bad for a trick cyclist.
You Magazine (The Mail on Sunday)
April 21, 1991