They were devastated by the death of their dog Lupo two months ago, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children are now ‘besotted’ by a new cocker spaniel.
The eight-month-old black puppy was a gift from the Duchess’s brother James Middleton and arrived at Anmer Hall, the family’s home in Norfolk, before Lupo died.
‘The new puppy is adorable and the whole family are besotted,’ a friend told The Mail on Sunday.
‘They were devastated when Lupo passed away, as any dog owner will understand, but got the new puppy before he died. It was hoped that a younger dog would give Lupo some company and give him a little more life and energy.’
The family will no doubt be hoping the new arrival has the same sweet nature as Lupo, who was its uncle.
Mr Middleton, 33, originally bred a litter of puppies from his dog Ella in 2011. He kept one called Luna but gave brother Lupo to Kate in early 2012 when Prince William, then an RAF search-and-rescue pilot, was deployed to the Falklands.
Last summer, Mr Middleton, who was staying with his parents at their Berkshire home, bred another litter of six puppies with Luna as their mother.
It is understood Kate and William had the pick of the litter, helped by Prince George, seven, and Charlotte, five. Two-year-old Louis was probably too young to help.
Royal aides have not yet confirmed the name the family have given to their new pet. When the litter was born, James and his fiancee Alizee Thevenet, 31, posted pictures on Instagram of themselves with the six puppies, his other spaniels Ella, Inca, Luna and Zulu plus golden retriever Mabel.
‘I am sad to see you go, and yes I might cry, but it will be with happiness as each of your new homes are bursting with love,’ he wrote.
‘You might be scared at first, that’s ok. Just be yourself and you will never understand how much happiness you will bring to your new families and the people you meet. Make me proud and remember to write.’
He donated the money from the sale of the puppies to the charity Pets As Therapy, which provides therapeutic visits to care homes, hospitals and schools.
The death of nine-year-old Lupo was announced in a rare personal post on social media by the Cambridges in mid-November. ‘Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away.
‘He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much,’ they wrote.
Within an hour, they had received 300,000 messages from wellwishers.
Lupo often appeared in official pictures of the Cambridges, including a 2013 image of Kate cradling a young Prince George. William declared at the time: ‘Catherine and now little George are my priorities’, before adding, ‘and Lupo’.
Mr Middleton has spoken of how dogs have helped him with his mental health. ‘To think a dog will cure your mental health is misguided, [but] they can be a fantastic companion,’ he once said.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Emily Andrews