The former health minister ‘particularly enjoyed the cheese and the unusual dark biscuits’ until his colleague informed him that the Queen had laid them out for her beloved dogs
Former health minister Alan Johnson accidentally ate dog biscuits meant for the Queen’s corgis during a lunch at Windsor Castle, a new book has revealed.
While sitting next to Her Majesty, Mr Johnson happily tucked into cheese on “unusual dark biscuits” before his colleague Paul Murphy informed him the Queen had laid them out for her dogs.
Royal biographer Robert Hardman has recalled the anecdote in his new book Queen of Our Times, where he shares the full life story of the Queen ahead of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Despite visiting Windsor Castle in 2008, Mr Johnson, a Labor MP from 1997 to 2017, kept quiet about his dog biscuit blunder for 14 long years until he appeared on Channel 4 daytime show Steph’s Packed Lunch earlier this month.
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During the show, Steph asked: “You have eaten will all kinds of dignities and leaders and that in your time. And you’ve eaten with the Queen as well, haven’t you?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I did make a faux pas. She was there. There were cheese and biscuits. Her Majesty was tossing some biscuits to the dogs, to the corgis.
“I didn’t see that, and I took one of those biscuits and put some cheese on it and ate it and was told, ‘I hate to tell you, but they are for the dogs’.”
The Queen has owned about 30 corgis and dorgis, a cross between a corgi and a dachshund, throughout her lifetime, starting with Susan who she received on her 18th birthday in 1944.
King George VI introduced a Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi into the royal household in 1933, sparking the Queen’s fascination with the breed.
The dog, who was renamed Duke from Dookie, became an integral part of the family, even making it into royal photo shoots alongside then Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth II.
It has been reported Prince Phillip ‘loathed’ the Queen’s dogs because they were “too yappy” – but this didn’t stop her from filling Buckingham Palace with them.
Despite not winning over Prince Phillip, three of the Queen’s dogs, Monty, Willow and Holly, won over the nation after making their TV debut alongside Her Majesty and Daniel Craig in a James Bond sketch.
Filmed at Buckingham Palace, the sketch became part of the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony – and has since been viewed more than 50 million times on YouTube.
Her dogs have also become the focus of their own animated movie called The Queen’s Corgis, which stars Jack Whitehall and Dame Julie Walters as voice actors.
The animated movie provides an insight into what life might be like for the Queen’s dogs, and includes mention of the ‘Corgi Room’, where the dogs sleep in elevated wicker baskets.
She is known for giving her dogs’ unusual names including Bisto Oxo, Whiskey, Cider, Spick, Span, Bushy and Brush.
Her Majesty currently has two corgis, one of which is called Muick, a dorgi, named Candy, and recently welcomed a cocker spaniel who has been affectionately named Lissy.
The four-year-old dog is the Queen’s first gundog champion and means she has reversed her self-imposed year-long ban on new royal dogs.
Gundogs, also known as bird dogs, are hunting dogs who assist their owners in finding and retrieving game.
Lissy, who is listed under the official pedigree name Wolferton Drama, recently won the 91st Kennel Club ocker Spaniel Championship, seeing off 38 competitors to gain the top spot.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.