I feel that the stars have aligned! With the last post in my Royal Childhood series all written up and ready to go, I was blessed this morning with this amazing Annie Leibovitz photo, released to celebrate the Queen on her 90th birthday! It must be fate...
There is something about having a pet which often makes a family feel complete and taking a look back over the Queen's 90 years, their family doesn't seem to be much different in this respect. For generations our family dog has always been fond of the mighty Dachshund, (from my Granny, to Mum, to my sister Laura) and as you can see below some of the smaller members of the clan actually live in the dog bed with Dorothy!
This continuity in dog breed is much like the Queen and her corgis I suppose. There is something about having a family dog, which sums up childhood for me. For many, their first dog (or cat, although we don’t talk about them much in my family…!) can be their first true friend, someone to tackle the high jinks of childhood with. When looking through images of such a public family like the Royals, you can’t help but feel this connection to animals as being particularly poignant.
It’s often been said that the Queen prefers things with four legs to two and if it’s not her beloved dogs it’s horses, a love which again has been famously been passed on to every generation after her. I love the fact that despite it being her 90th birthday, she still goes riding with her grandchildren!
Although most can’t afford to keep a stable of horses there is still something magical about a child’s excitement when getting on a horse for the first time. My little niece Iris was only telling me the other day about her first pony ride during the Easter holidays and the pure wonder was something to be heard to be believed. Despite not having ridden myself for 20 years, it made me quite nostalgic!
I suppose it's the nostalgia of an old pet which makes having one in a family so special. No matter how many years go by and what family fall outs there might be, reminiscing about 'Christopher the Guinea Pig' (don't know why I picked Christopher as a name...) or Biscuit the hamster' (a more obvious option!), always gets everyone laughing.
So it seems fitting that today we celebrate the wonderful impact of pets on childhood and family pet on a very special birthday of a very famous animal lover, the Queen.