Royal beekeeper commissioned to inform queen bee of her death

The royal bees were stung by the news.

Royal beekeeper John Chapple officially informed the hives in the grounds of Clarence House and Buckingham Palace of the death of the Queen last week and the accession of King Charles.

The tradition, dubbed “telling the bees,” requires the bees to be informed of the monarch’s death in hushed tones, the Daily Mail reported.

“Telling the bees” is a traditional custom in many European countries that began centuries ago. According to tradition, the bees must be informed about important events in the life of their keepers, such as births, marriages or leaving the household.

It is said that if the bees are not informed of important events, a penalty is to be paid, such as B. Bees leaving their hive, stopping honey production or even dying.

“I’m with the hives now and it’s a tradition when someone dies you go to the hives, say a little prayer and put a black ribbon around the hive,” the 79-year-old beekeeper told the Daily Mail. “The person who died is the lord or mistress of the hives, someone important in the family who dies and you don’t become more important than the queen do you?”

Royal Beekeeper John Chapple said he did it "tell bees" after the death of the queen.
Royal beekeeper John Chapple said that after the death of the queen, he performed the “tell to the bees” rite.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
John Chapple, Chairman of the London Beekeepers Association, poses with part of one of the beehives he looks after at Lambeth Palace.
John Chapple, Chairman of the London Beekeepers’ Association, poses with part of one of the beehives he looks after at Lambeth Palace.
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chapple went on to say that it is appropriate for the person performing the custom to ask them to serve the next leader.

“You knock on every hive and say, ‘The mistress is dead, but don’t go. Your Master will be a good Master to you,’” Chapple said. “I did the hives at Clarence House and now I’m at Buckingham Palace doing their hives.”

"The person who died is the lord or mistress of the hives, someone important in the family who dies and you don't become more important than the queen do you?"
“The person who died is the lord or mistress of the hives, someone important in the family who dies and you don’t become more important than the queen do you?”
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Chapple revealed he tended to nearly a million bees in midsummer.

“At this time of year each hive contains 20,000, maybe a bit more, but I’m not very good at counting them. In the summer it’s over a million,” he said.

Chapple also said it was pure coincidence that he got the job.

"You knock on every hive and say,
“You knock on every hive and say, ‘The mistress is dead, but don’t go. Your master will be a good master to you.’”
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“I got an email from the head gardener here at Buckingham Palace to come and talk about bees,” Chapple recalled. “I thought they had a problem with bees, but it turned out they wanted to keep bees, so I’m going to take care of the bees here from now on.”

Chapple said he has been looking after the royal bees for almost 15 years and hopes Buckingham Palace’s new residents will allow him to continue his work.

“It’s been a wonderful privilege to do things like this for the Queen and now hopefully the King, too,” Chapple said. “I hope they still want to keep the bees on their property. You never know. You could say take it away, but I don’t think you can [be] what happens, although you really never know… It’s up to Buckingham Palace’s new tenant.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/15/royal-beekeeper-tasked-to-inform-queens-bees-of-her-death/ Royal beekeeper commissioned to inform queen bee of her death

Emma Bowman

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