The passing of beloved Queen Elizabeth II, the U.K.’s longest-reigning monarch, on Thursday, at age 96, prompted heartfelt tributes within Britain and from all over the world as well as significant changes within the royal family infrastructure, particularly including her son Prince Charles becoming King Charles.
It also set in motion an otherwise little-known ceremony carried out by a bee whisperer on the grounds of London’s Buckingham Palace and at a nearby royal residence known as Clarence House.
In the ceremony for a unique constituency that apparently dates back centuries, the royal beekeeper reportedly informed the hives, five outside the palace, and two at the other location, “in hushed tones” that Charles is now in charge.
According to the Daily Mail, beekeeper John Chapple, 79, travelled to the two locations, “on Friday following news of The Queen’s death to carry out the superstitious ritual. He placed black ribbons tied into bows on the hives, home to tens of thousands of bees, before informing them that their mistress had died and that a new master would be in charge from now on. He then urged the bees to be good to their new master — himself once famed for talking to plants.”
(Video: Daily Mail)
The tabloid added that “The strange ritual is underpinned by an old superstition that not to tell them of a change of owner would lead to the bees not producing honey, leaving the hive or even dying.”
In describing the tradition, Chappelle explained, “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.'”
As alluded to above, “In a previous 1986 interview, Prince Charles explained that he talks to every plant he meets. He said: ‘I just come and talk to the plants, really – very important to talk to them. They respond,'” the Country Living website asserted in December 2020.
Love the tradition that the Royal beekeeper has told the Queen's bees that "the lady has died" and tied black ribbons to the hives.
— Graham Usher (@bishopnorwich) September 10, 2022
According to the U.K. publication Metro, “Bizarre ancient beekeeper customs say if bees are not informed of their master’s death calamity could strike. There were once fears the bees might go on strike and no longer make honey. Some would vow never to work again or even perish in a serious show of loyalty to their old master.”
At the peak of the summer, the royal beekeeper reportedly keeps track of about one million of the winged insects. He hopes to continue in that role under monarchy’s new management, assuming the hives remain on the historic premises. “It has been a wonderful privilege to do things like this for the Queen and hopefully now for the King,” Chappelle indicated.
Today, the Royal Beekeeper John Chapple notified the palace hive of the Queen's death. He told the bees that King Charles is their new boss and urged them to be good.
— Stephen G. Rae (@StephenGeoRae) September 10, 2022
“John takes care of predominantly Dark European Honey bees, specifically London mongrels,” the Daily Mail noted.
Elizabeth became the Queen at age 25 and served up until her death at 96 that occurred peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She ascended to the throne in February 1952 upon the death of her father, King George VI, and was formally coronated in June 1953.
As the ceremonial head of state in a constitutional monarchy, Queen Elizabeth appointed 15 U.K. prime ministers during her reign, including Liz Truss, the new Conservative Party leader, who took office only a few days before Elizabeth passed away.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 9, 2022
In a statement on Truth Social expressing his condolences, former President Trump wrote, “Melania and I are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II…Queen Elizabeth’s historic and remarkable reign left a tremendous legacy of peace and prosperity for Great Britain.
“Her leadership and enduring diplomacy secured and advanced alliances with the United States and countries around the world,” the ex-POTUS added, in part. He also alluded to his personal relationship with the Queen and her “generous friendship” as well as her “wonderful sense of humor.”
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