Photo courtesy of Bruce Schwartz.
Fri, 06/02/2023 - 8:24am

Editorial: June 2, 2023

So very English, so very royal, so very Sir John

A whirlwind trip to London last week to attend the celebration of the English Kennel Club’s 150th anniversary with a “Garden Party” at Buckingham Palace, by kind permission of His Majesty The King in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Like all members of The Kennel Club, I was invited with one guest to attend this very special and unique occasion. Also invited were all the employees of The Kennel Club and other guests. On one of those rare cloudless, warm, sunny days in London, more than 2,000 guests arrived at the appointed time dressed in their best bib and tucker, with all the ladies in hats or fascinators (curled ribbons of fabric worn off the side of the head). It was also a day to celebrate the renaming of The Kennel Club to The Royal Kennel Club. The Royal prefix was given to the club by King Charles III, a very special honor, and so The Kennel Club will now officially be called The Royal Kennel Club. 

How did this fairytale royal celebration come to take place? Sir John Spurling, KCVO OBE, had a unique relationship with the late Queen Elizabeth II. In meetings held the year before her death, John spoke with the Queen about the upcoming Kennel Club anniversary and the possibility of holding a “Garden Party” at Buckingham Palace. In the ensuing conversations there was talk of a Royal prefix given to the club. The Queen was very agreeable to the Garden Party, but a Royal prefix would first have to be approved by the government into the legitimacy and solvency of the organization in question, as it has been done for those who are granted the title. Sadly, Queen Elizabeth II passed away before all the details were completed, and it was left to King Charles III to approve the talked-about plans. As the Patron of The Kennel Club, the Queen would have enjoyed this day with her fellow dog lovers. Her absence was felt by all attending. Happily, the King agreed and signed off on the Garden Party and Royal prefix.

None of this very special recognition of The Kennel Club would have taken place without John Spurling. We members of The Royal Kennel Club owe him our thanks for the honors and exposure it has brought to purebred dogs, as it does for all dogs. Anyone who knows John would not be surprised by his involvement in making these two occasions happen. So, thank you, John, for a day we will all remember and lifetime recognition for The Kennel Club, to be known from now on as The Royal Kennel Club. So Very English, So Very Royal, So Very Sir John Spurling, KCVO OBE.


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