Buddy the Cat joined the world on Thursday in expressing sadness at the passing of his dear friend, Queen Elizabeth II.
The dashing feline and the beloved monarch struck up a friendship during the latter years of her reign and saw their bond strengthen during trying times, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Turkey Shortage of 2021 and the death of the queen’s long time consort, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Although surrounded by friends and family, the queen became fond of Buddy for his unwavering support, his sense of humor and their shared love of turkey.
“The queen advised Buddy to keep a stiff upper lip during the Great Turkey Shortage of 2021, and Buddy was able to return the favor by being there for Her Majesty during the passing of Prince Phillip,” said royal observer Samantha Martin Bainbridge, the author of Flummery Tarts and Framboises St George: The Royal Family’s Favorite Desserts.
The queen took to referring to her favorite feline as “my dearest Bud-Bud,” though in keeping with tradition and ever the gentlecat, Buddy always referred to the queen as “Your Meowjesty.”
Their unusual friendship made headlines in the British press, especially since feline companionship was unusual for a monarch known for her love of Corgis.
“The Queen loved her Corgis until the very end, but dogs are so very extra when it comes to expressing their love,” said Gideon Brackenthwaite, a royal observer and author of Henry VIII: The Kingly Pimp Hand. “Felines, like the British aristocracy, are much more reserved with their affection and shun garish displays of familiarity. For his part, the future Earl never name-dropped her Majesty or bragged about his friendship with her, a fact that the Crown deeply appreciated. You’d never find his future lordship’s name in the tabloids, heavens forbid.”
Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II took the unprecedented step of knighting Buddy the Cat in 2021, naming him Sir Buddy, KBE of Buddington at that year’s investiture ceremony.
It was the first time the Crown had bestowed an honor on a feline since Able Seaman Simon, a ship’s cat on the HMS Amethyst who survived injuries he suffered during the Yangzte Incident of 1949.
Sir Buddy’s elevation was a poignant moment, and cameras captured Kate, Dutchess of Cambridge, dabbing gently at tears with her handkerchief as Buddy kneeled for his knighting.
Only a few short months later, Sir Buddy was elevated to Lord Buddy, Earl of Budderset, a meteoric rise for anyone in royal favor, let alone a cat.
During their friendship, Lord Buddy telephoned the Queen at least once per week and holidayed with her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
In a charming anecdote relayed by Prince William, the Queen and Earl Buddy shared a bowl of popcorn while watching Braveheart and laughing uproariously at the Australian Mel Gibson’s Scottish accent. The friends also enjoyed playing bridge.
“Like the rest of the world, I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend and beloved Queen, Elizabeth. I’ll treasure the memories of our adventures together, especially the time we had a little too much to drink and woke the kitchen staff at 3 am to make us an epic turkey feast,” Lord Buddy wrote in a statement. “There will never be another monarch like Her Majesty, so beloved across the world with such an enduring and fruitful reign. All of us at Budderset House are in mourning, and feel for our friends at Buckingham Palace.”
The earl was photographed on Friday in his Rolls Royce, eating a large meal of roasted turkey en route to London. At one point the Earl’s Rolls pulled even with the same model occupied by Princess Anne. The two exchanged pleasantries, and Lord Buddy was seen passing a bottle of Grey Poupon to the grieving royal between cars before the light turned green again.
“Such a simple gesture says volumes about His Lordship’s standing with the royal family,” said Edith Hershey, author of Direct From The Sauce: From Bechamel to Velouté, The Royal Family’s Most Beloved Condiments. “The Princess Royal would not accept Grey Poupon from just anyone. By passing the mustard, the earl was conveying his condolences and signaling his availability as a shoulder to cry on.”