Swanning around

We came across these beautiful swans in the Serpentine (lake) in Hyde Park recently. They were lovely! We didn’t see any ugly ones.

All swans (of the mute variety) in the United Kingdom are protected. But not because of environmental threats, because of the famous royal perogative!

Because the UK has a constitutional monarchy, the queen has several duties that only she can do, including opening parliament, calling an election, declaring war, etc. Some of these perogatives are a bit quirky, and the swan thing is definitely one of them!

Technically, the Queen “owns” all wild swans living on open water anywhere in the United Kingdom.  They cannot be hunted or captured for any purpose. This principle was founded in the 12th century, when swan was a popular item on the menu at royal feasts. Luckily most people don’t eat swan anymore (although there was a grizzly case last week where it appears that a chef killed a swan and was caught), but the royal perogative remains.

 There is even an annual event, called swan upping, whereby all the swans on the River Thames are rounded up, caught, marked and released.  Talk about a unique job! The Queen made a bit of a fuss when she attended the ceremony in 2009.

Posted on 27/05/2010, in Exploring the UK, Foodie adventures, Silly British Things and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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