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Queen Elizabeth II took her corgis to comfort a war hero: 'Much better than talking'

Describing his lunch with the Queen, Nott says that while patting the dogs beneath the table, 'my anxiety and distress drained away.'

Queen Elizabeth II took her corgis to comfort a war hero: 'Much better than talking'
Cover Image Source: (L) Youtube/Hay Festival; (R) Youtube/The Telegraph

Everyone knew about Queen Elizabeth II's love for her dogs. Her corgi Sugar was the "love of her life," according to many royal experts. The royal corgis that she loved right until her death were all descended from her first corgi, Susan. 

The queen really did believe in the healing powers of a dog's affection. A combat medic on the frontlines recently recalled the moment Queen Elizabeth II had the brilliant idea to aid in his trauma recovery after returning from Syria, according to Newsweek. Nott described seeing the queen shortly after his return from Aleppo, Syria, in his biography "War Doctor," according to Huffpost. Nott's mother had recently passed. When he saw "the mother of the nation," all he wanted to do was "burst into tears." “I hoped she wouldn’t ask me another question about Aleppo,” he wrote. “I knew if she did, I would completely lose control.”



When the queen questioned Dr. David Nott about his time spent in Aleppo, a city in the north of Syria that has been devastated by war, he could feel a lot of his trauma coming back up. The canine-loving monarch, instead of prying, introduced her corgis to him. Speaking on a panel at the annual Hay Festival in Powys, Wales, Nott recalled the incident and remarked, "I'm going to start crying, I can't cope with this." The queen then "put her hand on my hand" and said something to her courtiers, who immediately came back with six corgis who "ran into the room," per his speech. "They ran all the way around the room and they were barking and shouting, and two or three of them went under her legs," the Carmarthenshire-born Dr. Nott told the crowd.



Dr. Nott shared that working in combat zones led him to have post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Wales Online. For his efforts in delivering healthcare in disaster and conflict zones, such as Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Nepal and Ukraine, among others, Nott was given an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the monarch in 2012. The Welsh doctor has raised significant sums of money for philanthropic causes while volunteering for groups including Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Syria Relief. In addition to performing cancer surgery at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, Nott works as a vascular and trauma surgeon at St Mary's Hospital. He established the David Nott Foundation, which educates war doctors in emergency care.



After a brief exchange in which the two discussed the dogs, a courtier unlocked a silver box that contained dog biscuits. "She picked up the biscuit and she broke it in two and gave me half the biscuit, and I thought, 'Do I eat it?', and she said, 'No, no, they're for the dog,'" Nott told the audience. 

The rest of the lunch was spent talking about the dogs, and Nott claims that while patting them beneath the table, "my anxiety and distress drained away." After playing with and petting the canines for the next 20 minutes, Queen Elizabeth II gave him some sound advice. "At the end of it, she turned to me and said, 'That's much better than talking, isn't it?'" Nott said.

As a well-known dog lover, Queen Elizabeth II preferred corgis to all other breeds. When Susan the corgi was given to her by her father, King George VI, for her 18th birthday, she immediately fell in love with the breed. All subsequent corgis were descended from Susan because the queen adored her first dog so much. "She loves animals and she absolutely adores dogs. She always has done. They were her first love and they will be her last," royal biographer Ingrid Seward told Newsweek


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