Great Britain

The Queen and Her Swans

Posted on November 14, 2013. Filed under: Great Britain, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , |

Travel - Queen's SwansHere is a swan from my 1985 visit to Scotland’s Loch Ness.  It was a picture perfect event and the guide told us very seriously that the Queen owns all the swans in Great Britain.

I’ve always wondered about this.  Is it true?  If so why?  A little poking around today answered my questions.  The BBC says:

“The annual event (Swan Upping, or the annual count) dates back to the 12th Century when the ownership of all unowned mute swans in Britain was claimed by the Crown in order to ensure a ready supply for banquets and feasts.

Swan Upping now serves a conservational rather than culinary purpose.”

Other sites explained that it is a way to make them protected because many years ago they were hunted to near extinction.  Leave it to the British to make something like legal protection of a species into a fancy royal ownership affair.  I do love the quaintness of this tradition, even though I’m very glad we do not have royalty in the U.S.

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