The royal beekeeper informed the bees living in Buckingham Palace and Clarence House about the departure of Queen Elizabeth II. It is a centuries-old tradition whose origins are rooted in the superstition that bees will stop producing honey if they are not informed of the death of their master.
Royal beekeeper John Chapple, after receiving news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, went on Friday to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House to perform a special ritual: in a hushed voice, he announced to the bees that their new master was now King Charles III and placed black ribbons on the hives.
Notifying the bees of the death of the monarch is a centuries-old tradition
– You knock on each hive and say: “The lady is dead, but do not go away. Your new master will be a good master to you” – reported Chapple in an interview with MailOnline, adding: “The person who died is the lord or mistress of the hive, someone important in the family, and there is no one more important than the queen, right? “
The Evening Standard notes that the ritual has been repeated for centuries because, as is customary, failure to inform the bees of their new owner would risk ceasing honey production, leaving the hive, or even killing the insects. The custom is believed to have Celtic roots: in Celtic mythology, bees were considered to be links between the world and the spiritual realm.
15 years of working with royal bees
79-year-old Chapple has been dealing with bees for 30 years. He has been a royal beekeeper for about 15 years. He looks after two streets at the royal residence of Clarence House and five at Buckingham Palace. As he claims, over a million bees live there in the middle of summer. Now their number is falling, but each street is inhabited by approx. 20 thousand. insects.
He describes his work as a “hobby”. He hopes that the “new tenant of Buckingham Palace” will not decide to remove the bees from his premises and he will maintain his position: “It has been a great privilege to do such work for the queen and hopefully now I will be able to work for the king,” he said .
MailOnline, Evening Standard
Main photo source: David Jones / PA Images / Getty Images