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Corgi in welcoming party for Queen

A corgi looking for a new home caught the Queen's eye as she visited Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Twelve-year-old Beama arrived back at the south London kennels - where he first arrived as a puppy - last week after his previous elderly owner went into a home and could not take him.

And the pint-sized dog's timing was impeccable with the Queen, the home's patron, visiting today to open a new set of kennels.

But the monarch, a keen dog-lover and a long-time corgi owner, managed to resist his laid-back charm, despite the best efforts of Britain's Got Talent presenter Amanda Holden, who attempted to find Beama a palatial new pad.

When introduced to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Holden, a Battersea ambassador, asked her: "You are not tempted to take a corgi home?"

The Queen replied: "Not at the moment."

The monarch currently owns two Corgis called Willow and Holly and two Dorgis, Candy and Vulcan.

The Queen was given a canine guard of honour before meeting staff, volunteers and ambassadors including Holden, television presenter Paul O'Grady and model David Gandy.

Outspoken Liverpudlian O'Grady was the next to try to help Beama find a home by royal appointment, joining Ali Taylor, the home's head of canine welfare training, to present the corgi to her.

After O'Grady, who has made several television programmes about dogs, commented on him being a "big boy" she replied: "Yes, well corgis can get quite big."

She then gestured towards watching cameras and reporters and added: "He's quite interested in them." O'Grady replied: "I think he's a bit star struck." The Queen was visiting to officially open the home's new Mary Tealby Kennels and unveil a plaque.

The kennels are named after Mary Tealby, who founded the home in 1860 after becoming concerned by the number of stray animals roaming the capital's streets.

Originally known as The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs it was based in Holloway in north London before moving south of the Thames in 1871. It began taking in cats in 1883.

The Queen smiled and looked relaxed and at ease as she was given a tour of the new building and met several of its residents, asking about the different breeds she was shown.

She was later presented with a selection of treats for her dogs by Sonia Robertson and Teddy the Staffordshire bull terrier, who won a competition run by Battersea called Ma'am's Best Friend.

Speaking after the plaque unveiling, Holden said her attempt to entice the Queen into taking Beama home had failed, saying: "I don't think she is in the market for any more dogs at the moment."

She added: "I know Claire (Horton, Battersea's chief executive) was working on her, I did round two and I think Paul (O'Grady) was trying to talk the corgi into it."

Holden, who has been an ambassador for Battersea for three years, said she is in the market for a second dog for her family, probably in the autumn.

She joked: "My husband has kind of made it clear I would have to choose between him and the dog. So it was 50-50."

Gandy spoke with the Duke of Edinburgh, who asked him if he owned a corgi.

"I said no but I could be tempted," the model said afterwards.

He added: "I could take home any dog here today," but said that although his parents foster dogs at their home, he does not own one himself because of his lifestyle, which involves a lot of travelling.

He admitted this might make it strange that he was working with Battersea but said he wanted to help promote "responsible ownership" by people who know they are making a "major commitment" when they get a dog.

"You have got to make sure there is everything for the wellbeing of the dog in place before you have it," he added.

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