This Might Be the Weirdest Royal Development Yet

Royal beekeeper informed each hive of the (human) queen's death
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2022 8:30 AM CDT
This Might Be the Weirdest Royal Development Yet
These are not the royal bees.   (Getty / inventori)

Queen Elizabeth II may have been known for her beloved corgis, but she also had royal beehives. And the caretaker of those approximately 1 million charges performed an unusual ritual upon Elizabeth's death—he informed each hive of the news. The weird nugget comes via the Daily Mail, which interviewed royal beekeeper John Chapple. "You knock on each hive and say: ‘The mistress is dead, but don't you go. Your master will be a good master to you.'" Chapple did this for the hives—bedecked in black bows—at Clarence House as well as Buckingham Palace.

As it turns out, the ritual is rooted in tradition, explains Vanity Fair. Centuries ago, people came to believe that if bees were not told about their master's death, they would stop making honey. "In Celtic mythology, bees were considered messengers between this world and the spirit realm," the explainer adds. That's not stopping the jokes, however, as rounded up by the London Economic. "Would be an amazing Pixar movie about the bee queen assuming this means she is now the British monarch too," reads one tweet in the collection. (More Queen Elizabeth II stories.)

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