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Queen 'devastated' by corgi death

Anne with bull terriers
Princess Anne pictured with her two English bull terriers.

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A royal corgi is mauled to death by a princess' bull terrier.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Queen Elizabeth II was said by British media reports to be "absolutely devastated" over the death of one of her beloved corgi dogs, killed by an English bull terrier owned by her daughter Princess Anne.

The Queen, who is convalescing after her recent knee and facial surgery, was at her estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England, Wednesday, where other members of the royal family were joining her for Christmas.

Pharos the corgi was savaged at Sandringham by Dotty, the same dog which attacked two children in Windsor Great Park, according to newspaper reports.

Princess Anne became the first member of the British royal family to attract a criminal record in November last year when she was fined 500 for letting the dog run out of control.

Anne arrived with Dotty, short for Dorothy, on Monday and as the door was opened by a servant the queen's corgi raced down to greet her, reports quoted by the UK's Press Association said.

The bull terrier then attacked Pharos, injuring the corgi's legs. He was treated by royal vets and kept in intensive care overnight but had to be put down Tuesday.

Buckingham Palace would not comment on the alleged incident. The Sun quoted a royal insider as saying: "His death has left her deeply saddened. Everyone knows what the corgis mean to her. They are loyal, faithful and cherished.

"The incident has certainly put a damper on the Christmas holiday. It's terrible and everyone at Sandringham is very upset."

The queen's corgis are known to have the run of Buckingham Palace. Recently they were seen straying into a photocall when the queen played host to the victorious England rugby team.

A royal dog's life: Corgis with the queen at a reception for the New Zealand rugby team
A royal dog's life: Corgis with the queen at a reception for the New Zealand rugby team

In November, 2002, they were photographed joining the queen for a reception with the New Zealand All Blacks squad.

Princess Anne was also said to be distressed by the incident. She was among 15 royals at Sandringham Wednesday, where they were opening their presents around a 20ft Christmas tree.

The royal family open gifts on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day following a German tradition.

Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, is thought to have introduced Christmas trees to the Royal Family. But it was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's enthusiasm for the custom which helped spread its popularity.

Nowadays, the Queen and her family usually put the finishing touches to the tree's decorations and place their presents to each other on white linen-covered trestle tables, PA says.

Those expected at Sandringham this year are the queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales with Prince William, 21, and Prince Harry, 19, home from Australia, the Duke of York with daughters Princess Beatrice, 15, and Princess Eugenie, 13, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their new-born baby Lady Louise and Princess Anne and her children Peter Phillips, 26, Zara Phillips, 22, and husband Commodore Timothy Laurence.

On Thursday, Christmas Day, they are due to attend a morning service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate.


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