As a nation, the United Kingdom is subject to countless strange and archaic rules and regulations. One of these traditions decrees that Queen Elizabeth is the official owner of each and every swan in England and Wales (and, apparently, can stake a claim to any sturgeons, whales, porpoises, and dolphins swimming in UK waters). An unusual perk of the job, no?
Now, it seems that the Queen’s status as owner-in-chief of the UK’s swan population might be causing her some emotional turmoil, as over 20 of the birds in her Windsor Castle flock have reportedly succumbed to an outbreak of bird flu sweeping the country. While some commentators have expressed concern that the Windsor outbreak might impact Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, which will take place at St George’s Chapel in May, this is actually very unlikely. The chances of avian flu being transmitted from birds to humans is very low, meaning that preparations for the ceremony are likely to carry on regardless. Thank goodness!
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Recent reports have suggested that England’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (aka Defra) are currently investigating the avian flu outbreak. “Over 20 swans have died now and there’s a lot which are seriously ill which will die — well over 20 more,” explained David Barber who, as the Queen’s official Swan Marker, is responsible for carrying out an annual census of the royal swans, a tradition known as the Swan Upping which dates back around 800 years.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of these swans. We’re waiting to hear from Defra, but yes, it is bird flu. I’m sure the Queen would be concerned,” he said. “You cannot do anything about it. It will burn itself out. They’re wild birds and it is spread by wild birds and we’ve been very unlucky.”
Join our Facebook group for the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Prince William, and all things royal!
This post was written by Katie Rosseinsky. It originally appeared on our sister site, Grazia Daily.