VIDEO: Why the bees were informed of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the danger of not doing it

Why the bees were informed of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the danger of not doing it

It is a tradition that is still present in the United Kingdom and other countries. According to DailyMail, it dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

This Monday, 19 September, after eleven days of mourning, the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who for the past 70 years has been the Queen of England, with a reign among the longest in history, took place. The death of a monarch brings with it an endless list of protocols, one of them being to inform the bees belonging to the monarchy of her passing.

Just as the Queen had an official piper, so did John Chapple, president of the London Beekeepers Association, who was in charge of the hives. It was he who, after hearing the news of her death, communicated what had happened to these insects. A centuries-old tradition that continues to this day in the British crown. But it does not only happen with deaths, it also happens with births and appointments in the Royal Household.

A rite which, as revealed by the Daily Mail, consisted of approaching each of the hives at Clarence House and Buckingham Palace and saying the following words: “The mistress is dead, but don’t go. Your master will be a good master to you”. After this, they are wrapped with a black ribbon as a sign of mourning.

While the tradition is thought to date back to Celtic mythology, which beliefs in the relationship between bees and the soul, Mark Norman, British folklorist and author of ‘Telling the Bees and Other Customs: The Folklore of Rural Crafts,’ says it began to become commonplace between the 18th and 19th centuries. 

“We discovered evidence that it was common in both America and Europe at the time,” he says.

The risk of not doing it

As Norman explains, not following the tradition of this ritual can have negative consequences. “It was considered very bad luck to ignore the bees and not tell them of a death or other important family event. Failure to do so meant that the bees would leave the hive or perish”.

Speaking to The New York Times, the writer reveals that it can have “potentially serious consequences. It’s a very old and well-established tradition, but not something that’s well known. The tradition holds that, as part of the royal family, being part of the monarchy, they should be aware of the main “happenings” of the monarchy. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was believed that not informing them could bring “misfortune”, such as their death or departure, as well as the “impossibility” of producing honey.

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