IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Queen Elizabeth had a deep love for animals since she was a young princess

From her beloved corgis to her passion for horses, the late monarch never hid her love for her four-legged friends. 

Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered for many things, among them her devotion to service and love of country.

But long before she became Britain’s monarch, Elizabeth had already displayed a different devotion and love — for animals.

The late royal, who died Sept. 8 at the age of 96, had a passion for horses and dogs which began when she was a child. 

Princess And Corgis
Princess Elizabeth with two corgi dogs at her home at 145 Piccadilly, London, July 1936. Lisa Sheridan / Getty Images

Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, brought the first of many corgis into the family in 1933.

That first dog, named Dookie, soon had a companion named Jane, and from there a long line of royal dogs began, as did the future queen's fondness for the breed.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II of England at Balmoral Castle with one of her Corgis, on September 28, 1952.Bettmann Archive

When Elizabeth turned 18, she was given her own corgi, her beloved Susan, and nearly all of her dogs after that point were directly descended from Susan — even those of another breed Elizabeth had a role in creating. 

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II with one of her corgis at Sandringham, 1970.Fox Photos / Getty Images

Along with her corgis, the queen had several dorgis, which she reportedly engineered many years ago, according to Vanity Fair, by breeding one of her corgis with a dachshund belonging to her late sister, Princess Margaret.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II relaxes at Sandringham with her corgis and dorgis. Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

Her affection for the dogs was great, and only seemed matched by the love she held for horses.

Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II, reaches up to pat the head of a horse at the Richmond Royal Horse Show on 6th June 1934.Keystone / Getty Images

According to an article published in The Sydney Morning Herald in 1937, “(King George VI) has always been anxious that Princess Elizabeth shall be a good horse-woman. On her third birthday she was given a little Shetland pony, Daisy, with whom she had made friends in Scotland.” 

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II patting on the forehead of a horse while Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie (1892 - 1975) is standing next to her during her visit to Ethiopia, 5th February 1965.Terry Fincher / Getty Images

Throughout her life, Elizabeth showed an open interest for race horses, show horses and military equine alike, and she was often seen reaching out to touch any horse in arm’s distance to her.

The animals even played a diplomatic role for her.

Queen Ronald Reagan
Queen Elizabeth rode with President Ronald Reagan on the grounds of Windsor Castle during his 1982 state visit. Tim Graham / Getty Images

During a visit to TODAY on Sept. 9, NBC News commentator Andrea Mitchell recalled how a love for horses served as a boon in 1982, when President Ronald Reagan made his first state visit to the U.K.

“They bonded over horses, their passion for horses,” Mitchell recalled.

Mitchell also remembered another moment from her own experience visiting with the queen that proved how the royal regularly bonded over the topic of animals.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II reviews the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery during their 70th anniversary parade in Hyde Park on October 19, 2017 in London, England.Max Mumby/Indigo / Getty Images

“When we were going to meet her for lunch, we were told don’t talk about anything but horses, corgis or the weather,” she said. 

Queen Elizabeth II standing with her ponies, Bybeck Nightingale (right) and Bybeck Katie (left), to mark her 96th birthday.HENRY DALLAL/Royal Windsor Horse Show / AFP via Getty Images

And earlier this year, to mark what turned out to be her final birthday, the queen reiterated her lifelong passion for animals by posing for a portrait with her two Fell ponies by her side.