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Prince William and Duchess Kate mourn the loss of their “dear dog” Lupo, who died last weekend.

“He’s been the core of our family for the last nine years and we will miss him so much,” read a statement signed by “W&C” and was published on Sunday on official Kensington Royal social media.

Lupo, a black English cocker spaniel, was a member of the royal family before any of the couple’s children: They adopted him in 2012, more than a year before welcoming first-born Prince George, now 7. Will and Kate also share Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2.

Kate’s brother, James Middleton, also mourned Lupo, whose mother, Ella, is his family’s pet.

“There is not much of a rulebook on how to care for a dog, but I have prayed, lit a candle and taken Ella (mother) for a long walk to spend time remembering Lupo,” he wrote on Instagram . “You will always be remembered.”

Lupo appeared in the first official portraits released by baby George back in 2013, taken by Kate’s father, Michael Middleton, in the garden of Middleton’s home. A sleeping George is apparently being held by his mother next to his father, flanked by the Lupo and Middleton family dog, Tilly.

After months of speculation about a new royal pet, Duchess Kate slipped in early 2012 that they had adopted a puppy named Lupo while visiting an elementary school in Oxford.

The puppy went on to play star in a number of British children’s books not affiliated with the Royal Family. “Lupo: The Adventures of a Royal Dog” featured a heroic Lupo facing the villains of Queen Elizabeth II’s villains. The first book, “Lupo and the Secret of Windsor Castle”, was published in the UK in September 2014.

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