In a strange tradition, the royal beekeeper tells the hives at Buckingham Palace that King George III is their new master
The hives of the bees that reside in the gardens of Buckingham Palace have been informed of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
In keeping with one of the strangest traditions linked to the British royal family, the official palace beekeeper announced the death of Her Majesty at the age of 96 to the approximately 30,000 bees currently on the grounds, the beekeeper royal also tying black ribbons around the beehives in memory of Queen Elizabeth II.
John Chappie, who was royal beekeeper for 15 years, told the Daily Mail Friday that he was also responsible for informing the bees that King Charles III is their “new master” and that they should “treat him well”.
“I’m at the hives now and it’s traditional when someone dies to go to the hives and say a little prayer and put a black ribbon over the hive,” Chappie added of the ritual.
“The deceased person is the master or mistress of the hives, someone important in the family who dies and you don’t become more important than the queen, do you?” You knock at each hive and you say, “The mistress is dead, but don’t go there.” Your master will be a good master for you. I did the hives at Clarence House and am now at Buckingham Palace doing their hives.
Queen Elizabeth II is said to have been a bee enthusiast, keeping hives on the grounds of several estates, which produced enough honey for the heads of the royal family to use; excess honey was potted as “Buckingham Palace Gardens Honey” and sold for charity, the express declared in 2021.
According to Daily Mailbeekeeping is also a royal tradition in European countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and Ireland, and that – superstitiously – not informing the hives of the death of a king or a queen could lead to the exodus of the entire bee colony.