Over the last 200 years we have treated the pets of many famous people. Elizabeth Street vets have travelled abroad to treat the dogs of the Russian czar and German Kaiser, but most of the pets treated lived locally. Downing Street cats have been frequent visitors to Elizabeth Street but one dog in particular, Caesar, stands out as our most illustrious patient.
When King Edward VII succeeded Queen Victoria, the Elizabeth Street vets, Alfred Sewell and Frederick Cousens were, by Royal Warrants ‘Canine Surgeons’ to both the King and Queen Alexandra and to their son the Prince of Wales, the future King George V. Sewell had helped find Caesar for the king after his previous dog ‘Jack’ had died. The king once wrote that Caesar was the best dog he ever had and commissioned Faberge to make a model of his dog.
This Faberge model of Caesar is in the Royal Collection.
The accompanying article says: ‘On a visit to Marienbad in August 1907, Caesar was taken ill and Sir Frederick Ponsonby, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, recalled how he tried to persuade the King against the idea of sending for Sewell, a vet from London, at a cost of £200 per day, but His Majesty said “that if his dog was ill he would get the very best man and he did not care what it cost”. In the event Caesar was cured by a vet from Vienna.’
This photo shows Caesar in his prime.
When the king died in 1910, Queen Alexandra, knowing her husband’s feelings for Caesar, instructed that the dog follow her husband’s riderless horse in the funeral cortege to Paddington Station. Caesar walked from Westminster Abbey to Paddington Station, accompanied by a highlander officer. His photo was in virtually every newspaper in the UK. Caesar lived on for another five years but at 16 years of age, he died here at Elizabeth Street, with Queen Alexandra by his side.
Caesar walks in the funeral cortege of King Edward VII.