The Queen’s beloved corgis and one of her favourite ponies played a poignant role in the final farewell to their devoted owner.
The neatly groomed young dogs – Muick and Sandy – one on a red lead and one on a blue one – were brought into the Windsor Castle quadrangle for the arrival of the Queen’s coffin, ahead of her committal service in St George’s Chapel.
Emma the Fell Pony, owned by the Queen for 26 years, was stood on the grass at the side of the Long Walk, on the approach to the castle.
It was a moving sight, as the solitary horse stood in a gap between the hundreds of thousands of floral tributes, in the care of the Queen’s trusted stud groom and manager at Windsor Castle, Terry Pendry.
Mr Pendry, in his bowler hat , black jacket and riding boots, bowed his head as the coffin passed.
Behind them were grooms from the Royal Mews at Windsor wearing black armbands in mourning.
The black pony’s ears twitched and she swished her tail, stomping on the ground twice with one of her front hooves as her owner’s coffin moved past in the state hearse with a military parade.
Mr Pendry once described Emma as “a wonderful servant to Her Majesty” and one of her favourite ever horses.
Elizabeth II was famed for her affection for her dogs and her horses, as well as her passion for horse racing and breeding thoroughbreds.
Muick and Sandy were in the charge of two royal pages, in red frock coats, on Monday and the pair took time to stroke the dogs, as one of the animals laid with its head on the ground.
The Queen owned more than 30 corgis during her lifetime.
Many of her corgis were direct descendants from Susan, who was given to her as an 18th birthday present from her parents in 1944.
The Queen had fallen in love with her father’s George VI’s dog Dookie, a Pembrokeshire corgi, and wanted one of her own.
Susan was so loved that she accompanied Princess Elizabeth on her honeymoon.
In 2021, the Queen was given two new puppies, one dorgi and one corgi, as a gift by the Duke of York while staying in lockdown at Windsor.
The puppies kept the delighted monarch entertained while the Duke of Edinburgh was in hospital and Buckingham Palace and the royals were dealing with the bitter fallout from Megxit and the Sussexes’ Oprah interview.
The Queen named the dorgi Fergus after her uncle who was killed in action during the First World War, and the corgi Muick, pronounced Mick, after Loch Muick on the Balmoral estate.
But the monarch was devastated when five-month-old Fergus died just weeks later, in the aftermath of Philip’s death.
He was later replaced with a new corgi puppy, from Andrew and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie for her official 95th birthday, who the Queen named Sandy.
The puppies were a constant source of joy for the monarch during lockdown, her dresser Angela Kelly said.
Muick and Sandy have now been rehomed with Andrew.
The Queen also had an elderly dorgi called Candy.
Horses were also her lifelong passion, and her knowledge of breeding and broodlines was almost without equal.
She acquired her own racing colours in 1949 of scarlet with purple hooped sleeves and black cap, when she and her mother jointly bought the steeplechaser Monaveen.
Her first reported riding lesson took place in the private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews in January 1930, when she was just three years old.
She continued riding well into her nineties – always in a headscarf tied under her chin rather than a hard riding hat.
Dogs also featured in the funeral ceremony for the Queen’s ancestor Edward VII
He carefully planned his own funeral before he died in 1910 and his military procession featured a unique element.
The King was inseparable from his loyal wire-haired fox terrier Caesar, who followed him everywhere.
Caesar, nicknamed Stinky by courtiers, was inconsolable when the King died and the dog roamed the corridors looking for his master.
On the day of the funeral, he achieved widespread fame for trotting behind the King’s coffin alongside a Highland soldier and behind the King’s symbolically riderless horse, his favourite charger.
Caesar was given such a prominent position that he walked ahead of the new King, George V, and foreign heads of state, an act which enraged Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
The little dog’s relationship with the King is acknowledged on Edward VII’s tomb in St George’s Chapel Windsor, where Caesar is immortalised in stone, curled up at his master’s feet.