A Life In The Day Of Ranger The CorgiI sleep with the Queen Mum. Always have done. I tell a lie, there was that time at the Castle of Mey when I got banned from her bedroom for snoring. Very strange, I never snored at Clarence House or at Balmoral. So what was happening? It took a local vet all of one summer to work it out.
The Castle of Mey is my favourite place, and she loves it, no tourists, no awful photographers, very remote, so I was being allowed to stay up late. One drink leads to another, I trust I have no need to spell it out. Then we'd have supper together, in front of the TV. That was the problem, you see, eating so late, sometimes 10 o'clock. My little tum was on the night shift. So the vet made me revert to my normal suppertime, which is five o'clock for all the royal corgis. And that was it. No problem.
Anyway, I normally wake up when she wakes up. One of the flunkeys brings her morning tea and the Sporting Life, plus a biscuit for me and Dash. She's my younger sister. Same parents, different litter. The QM always gives me my biscuit. In theory, I'm supposed to get off the bed and have it in my basket, but hard cheese. Let them clear up the crumbs, I say. What else have they got to do? Lazy beggars.
Then it's time for jobbies. In London, we have this outside flunkey who comes for us, then collects all the other dogs from their kennels and he drags us round the garden, such as it is. We're usually on leads, which I hate. You get these dopey flunkeys who can't control dogs, so they have to keep us on a lead. It's not as if we'd try to escape, now would we - who'd give up this soft billet, or do anything stupid.
Bite someone? Don't start that. You're not going to be like all those other reporter johnnies. That's the only time we ever make the papers. It's so unfair. Look, that policeman at Buckingham Palace who ended up in hospital, all out of proportion. The papers said I'd savaged his ankle. What a lie. Diabolical. I didn't even draw blood.
Ask the Queen Mum. "It's their herding instinct." She must use that phrase three times a day. It gives us a right giggle. Look, we're Welsh corgies, right, and our history goes back to the 10th century, long before this royal family crept out of their German cave. Whoops! Don't mention that. They're a bit sensitive.
We were trained in Wales, Pembroke actually, to herd cows. Now, would we have lasted this long if we'd savaged cows, drawn blood, bitten legs off and all that? No chance. We were trained only to nip ankles, just to encourage them, or keep them in their place. That's all we ever do. So when you see these Guardsmen on crutches putting on the agony for the tabloids, or some equerry sitting up in hospital for the Six O'Clock News, forget it. Pure sensationalism.
Oh no, don't start on the death of Chipper. That was May last year. I've savaged quite a few other upstarts since then. It was a bit unfortunate, though, I admit it, killing the Queen's favourite dog, but he was asking for it. I had to show him who was boss, didn't I? Get the retaliation in first.
Territorially, it was imperative. Me and the lads at Clarry House don't take no lip from the Buck House mob.
You do know that Chipper was, how shall I put this (don't want any trouble at Cruft's), not one of us? Yup. The papers never made that clear. He was a 'dorgi' - a cross between a dachshund and a corgi. Who needs them? The Queen still has one, a little bitch called Piper. I'll get her one day. When we see her coming, me and the lads all sing 'How much is that dorgi in the window...'
There was the usual stuff afterwards, 10 sessions with the trick cyclist. He gets me on the couch and asks me all those naff questions: was I disturbed as a puppy? Do I have nightmares about Hard Pad? Then they always get on to what age did your ears prick up. My ears went up erect at three weeks and they've not been down since, well, apart from when I was teething. But I usually say they didn't go up till I was five months old, just to get them going, wind them up. With a bit of luck, I get Mars Bars for a week, to make up for infantile deprivation.
I loll around in the QM's room most of the morning. I can tell by now if she's getting bored with some draggy guest or official, and try to help out. Hurry them along. We're One Person dogs, you see, which is why we tend to lash out at other people - I mean give them a playful nip, rip a few trousers, tear a few jackets. All in fun.
I used to get given a few sly kicks when I was young. Now they daren't. I'm too smart. I know how to time it so the QM sees the kick, and bingo, they're dismissed on the spot. I'm working on that Princess Michael at the moment. I heard her rubbish all corgis the other day, saying what she'd like to do with them. She'll regret that.
The QM usually takes us for a walk herself in the afternoon, if we're not off gallivanting. I hate flying. It's those open steps which scare me. But I love Britannia. It's all been newly carpeted everywhere, so me and Dash have fun leaving our mark They now have two sailors following us. One with a soda syphon and the other with a mop.
Most afternoons, I get groomed. She often does it herself. Well, there's not much to it, really. We just need a strong comb and wire brush. Perhaps a bit of de-lousing now and again. I get my nails clipped most days. I have to at my age. Your feet spread, if you don't.
Apart from that, all things considered, I'm in brilliant shape, for a six-year-old. Look at these teeth. Lovely colour, everybody says so. Well, she says so, and she knows. She's had corgis for almost 60 years now. It was her who got the Queen going.
Supper at five o'clock is the highlight of the day. Sometimes I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. And have done. But don't mention that. We'll have idiots chaining themselves to the railings. Actually, I've gone off horse meat. It's usually raw beef these days, about half-a-pound of it, with a biscuit. The footman brings it on a tray and lays out a plastic sheet. Then she usually mixes it up for me. If she's in a good mood she puts in a touch of Marmite. Yum, yum! If she's in a bad mood and has got it into her head I've got worms, she puts in a spoonful of cod liver oil. Yuck. I blame the last war.
We spend the evening together, curled up in front of the fire. One bar electric at this time of the year. Not many mod cons at our place. She feels the cold these days, well, she is 90. I'm getting on as well.
I drop off about 10 and she usually puts me to bed. I often dream about Windsor, where I'll probably end up, in the dogs' cemetery along with the other royal corgis. Sometimes I wake up with a start, imagining Chipper is waiting for me.
Author unknown. 1990
Celebrating The Queen Mother's 100th birthday in 2000