New puppies will play an important roll in consoling the Queen as she grieves the loss of her husband Prince Philip, according to a royal expert.
On Wednesday, the Queen will mark her 95th birthday, days after poignant images from Philip’s funeral on Saturday showed the monarch sitting alone in St George’s Chapel at Windsor.
Her Majesty will only able to meet those outside her household in the open air.
The Queen’s birthday will fall during the period of royal mourning so any public events to mark it – such as the release of an official picture – are likely to be cancelled.
But the Queen will have two lively companions to keep her company, a corgi called Muick and a dorgi named Fergus, proving a welcome “distraction” along with her elderly dorgi Candy.
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine, said: “The thinking was enough was enough, and that she was getting too old for new dogs and who would look after them when she was gone.
“But clearly that decision was reversed and, as it turned out, it probably is very fortuitous. I think it’s useful to have these puppies in her life now as way of a distraction.”
The Queen’s life-long love of horses and dogs is well known and, while Philip spent his final period in hospital, it emerged the Queen had been given the puppies.
Mr Little believes that, while Buckingham Palace will remain the seat of the royal court, the Queen may make Windsor Castle her permanent home, travelling to the capital for official events.
Mr Little said: “She will mark her first birthday as a widow, and 95 is quite a significant birthday.
“I don’t think there would have been a fuss made of it, but nevertheless 95 is quite something. This is going to be a private day for her and that’s how it should be.
“Royal mourning continues until Friday so that makes it even more of a sombre occasion.”