In what is believed to be a centuries-old tradition, the Royal beekeeper has informed the beehives in the gardens of Buckingham Palace and Clarence House (Royal Residences in the UK), about the death of the Queen. This comes after Queen Elizabeth passed away Thursday.
Not just that, the bees have also been informed Friday that their new master is King Charles III.
The official palace beekeeper, John Chapple, 79, told UK-based news website Daily Mail Online how he travelled to the two palaces. It was his duty to:
[F]ollowing the news of The Queen’s death to carry out the superstitious ritual”.
“Telling the bee” is an ancient tradition where the bees are informed about the death of their beekeeper. It is believed that if this is not done, “it would encourage the bees to desert the hive or the colony to stop producing honey or even die”.
The practice was most common in the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States and Western European countries.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online, Chapple said it is a tradition when someone dies, you go to the hives and say a “little prayer” and put a black ribbon on the hive. And, the hives are draped with black ribbon with a bow (taken by the beekeeper).
The person who has died is the master or mistress of the hives, someone important in the family who dies and you don’t get any more important than the Queen, do you?”
“The mistress is dead, but don’t you go. Your new master will be a good master to you,” he informed the bees, after knocking each hive.