Beekeeper informs royal bees |

“The mistress is dead, but does not go away”

The royal bee colony must also be informed about the death of Queen Elizabeth II – according to an old superstition.

That’s why John Chapple (79), royal beekeeper, told the bees on the grounds of Buckingham Palace that the Queen had died. He also told them that their eldest son Charles has now ascended the throne.

Following tradition, he attached black ribbons with bows to the hives that house tens of thousands of bees. Chapple told the British Daily Mail that he spoke to the insects in a soothing and calm tone: “The mistress is dead but is not going away. Your new master will be a good master to you.”

Then he asked the bees to be good to their new master too.

The strange ritual is based on an old superstition that says that concealing the change of throne would result in the bees not producing honey, leaving the hive or even dying.

Notification of bees is a traditional practice in many European countries, whereby bees are informed of important events in their keeper’s life, such as births, marriages or deaths. If the custom was neglected or forgotten, and if the bees were not “put into mourning”, it was believed that a penalty would be due.

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Source: Reuters


The tradition is best known in England, but has also been observed in Ireland, Wales, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and the United States. (rob)

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