If you’ve ever travelled to London, you’ll know that swans are a huge part of the many luscious parks and outdoor areas that populate the city.
In fact, you may be aware that Queen Elizabeth II technically owns many of the birds that live along the iconic River Thames, making this news story all the more heartbreaking.
The Sun has exclusively revealed that seven swans as part of Queen Elizabeth’s flock at Windsor may have died because of the bird flu. The H5n6 avian influenza is now the centre of an investigation by scientists at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with fears that many more of the swans at the location may soon die.
Alarmingly, the seven that have already passed away made up a tenth of the flock’s total population. It is believed that 13 more birds may be at immediate risk.
“Bird flu is feared to have struck the Windsor swan flock,” a source exclusively told The Sun. “They are waiting for the tests to come back but everyone suspects the worst. The results are expected early next week.”
Meanwhile, royal biographer Penny Junior suggested that the 91-year-old Queen would be “profoundly upset” by the news. She is usually one of the biggest names at the annual swan-upping in London, an event that sees people catch swans on the Thames and marking them to indicate the Queen’s ownership of the stunning creatures.
According to the royal family website, the royals have claimed ownership of the swans since the 12th century. It states that the Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans in England because the swans were highly prized because of their delicacy at banquets and feasts. Along the Thames, Queen Elizabeth II now shares ownership of the swans with The Worshipful Company of Dyers and The Worshipful Company of Vintners.
The devastating news comes after The Queen and her retired husband Prince Philip made a rare appearance at their last Sunday church visit of West Newton. Hundreds of royal-watchers gathered on the chilly day to watch the couple at St Peter and St Paul Church at West Newton on the Sandringham Estate. They happily interacted with locals and received gifts and flowers at the service.
The Queen beamed with happiness, wearing a deep red winter coat with matching hat. Prince Philip, who officially retired from all royal engagements last year, kept himself warm with a striking grey coat.
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