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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Royal officials block sketch sale
Queen's sketch
The Queen's sketch for her first corgi's headstone
A sketch by the Queen showing how she wanted to mark the death of her first corgi has been withdrawn from auction after a challenge by royal officials.

The plan, containing the Queen's instructions for a headstone, was to go under the hammer in Ludlow, Shropshire, with a guide price of 300.

Auction house Mullock Madeley withdrew the item after officials challenged the owner's right to sell the sketch.

The item relates to the death of Susan - the Princess' 18th birthday present.

The Corgi, a gift from her parents in 1944, died more than 45 years ago and is thought to have been buried at Sandringham House in Norfolk.

However, the sketch which shows a gravestone and an inscription, was attracting a lot of attention.

Auctioneer Richard Westwood-Brookes said Buckingham Palace wanted to explore issues over ownership of the sketch.

Queen's corgi
Many of the Queen's corgis are Susan's descendants
The item, along with other notes, were sent by the Queen to Robert Marrington, a former superintendent of works at the Sandringham estate.

They were then passed to another owner who died in the 1970s and were kept by a relative.

Mr Westwood-Brookes said: "They are saying technically it was a business letter sent to him in his capacity as an employee of the Queen and technically, it is the property of the Queen and should not be sold.

"We are in no position at this stage to investigate that claim, but rather than get ourselves into a situation where we have writs flying around all over the place, we have decided to withdraw it."

He added he would have to contact the owner before agreeing to any request to forward the sketch for the Queen's officials to examine.

The simple sketch shows a rounded gravestone containing the inscription: "Susan, died 26th Jan. 1959. For 15 years the faithful companion of the Queen."

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