Stylish, sassy and with a front-row seat at diplomatic functions, Marvin the hamster has become the latest member of the British royal family to make headlines. Introduced to the public this month, the royal rodent already has a loyal Twitter following, including hand-made cartoons by an American artist, according to an ABC News report Wednesday.
The Duchess of Cambridge, also known as the former Kate Middleton, announced the latest addition to the royal family while visiting a children’s playground in May. The hamster is the second pet for Prince George, 2, and Princess Charlotte, 1, joining the family’s English cocker spaniel, Lupo.
Christine Frazier, 33, a Washington native and self-described anglophile, helped propel Marvin to fame through whimsical illustrations of the hamster on her online site HRH Marvin, #TheRoyalHamster. Frazier has drawn the hamster wearing the outfits of the royals in recent public appearances, including Prince George’s bathrobe meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.
— HRH Marvin Hamster (@theroyalhamster) May 5, 2016
Members of the royal family have long been known as animal lovers, with Queen Elizabeth II’s lifelong passion for corgis well-documented throughout her reign. Frequently photographed with her corgis, she was not the first British monarch with a love of dogs. Queen Victoria early on adored German dachshunds and later in life was passionate about Scottish collies.
Animals give the royal family a way to connect and enjoy an element of ordinary life, according to one interpretation.
“In a life ruled by protocol, [dogs] provide an easy way for the queen to break the ice with strangers. In what can be an isolating position, she gets from them unlimited amounts of love and physical affection, uncompromised by the knowledge that she is the monarch,” Vanity Fair wrote in a 2015 article on the history of Elizabeth’s affinity for corgis.