A Brief History of Royal Pets: 4 Unique Examples of High-Priced Love

A Brief History of Royal Pets: 4 Unique Examples of High-Priced Love

Prince William and Kate experienced the loss of their beloved Lupo, a cocker spaniel, in 2020. The couple released a statement announcing this fact, along with commentary that their pet had been at the heart of their family for a decade.

“We will miss him so much,” concluded the Cambridges. It’s a sentiment that many pet parents share when this time comes for them. 

Living a “royal” life while serving in a monarchy can often lead to loneliness. Pet companions can relieve that isolation by embracing these relationships. Dogs and cats are typically in this role, but everything from lions to monkeys to chameleons has become treasured companions over the years.

Here are some of the best stories in a brief history of royal pets.

1. The Cats of Louis XV

For more than a century, the best way to describe Versailles, the home of France’s Bourbon kings, was as a dirty petting zoo. One Persian cat, in particular, had the run of the place, with the king never allowing his courtiers to tease it. Louis XV had numerous angora cats, while Princess de Chimay favored letting monkeys run everywhere.

2. The Two Dozen Dogs of Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots preferred devotion above everything else in her life. It was eventually found in her subjects, but it was always part of her childhood. Her family always surrounded her with pets, and she decided to keep up with that tradition as she got older. At one point, she had 26 dogs that would keep her company, along with several pet birds and a few falcons. Mary also had two favorite horses.

3. The Story of Incitatus

Caligula’s only rival for the title of the craziest emperor to ever rule Rome is Nero. He was not what you’d call a “people person.” Serving in the role after two predecessors, Caligula enjoyed mocking everyone who tried to suck up to him in the Senate. Tradition says that Incitatus, his horse, was believed to be a more worthy candidate for government office than most politicians, so the animal got purple blankets, jeweled collars, and an ivory manger. 

4. The Menagerie

Empress Josephine respected animals more than the average royal. Since she was married to Napoleon, her attention certainly needed to go somewhere to avoid loneliness. During the French Revolution, her children snuck in the family pug into the prison where she was held to keep her company. The dog kept coming back to her. On one fateful night, Josephine told Napoleon that he could sleep with the pet in their bed or go elsewhere. He tried to move the pug and got bit for his troubles.

Josephine would eventually establish a private zoon that included everything from swans to kangaroos. 

When we see the stories of royalty and their pets, it isn’t much of a stretch to see ourselves following a similar process. Although Royal animals might get more spoiled, there’s still a loved member of the family. 

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