Queen swans

The Royal Family issues heartwarming update on swan rescue mission

Her Majesty is a protector of the nation's swans

The Queen has shared a heartwarming update on the royal family’s conservation efforts.

She employs a swan expert to help protect the nation’s populations of swans.

Queen Elizabeth II, technically owns all unmarked muted swans in the UK.

Each July her Swan Upper and his team takes a flotilla boat up and down the River Thames over a five-day journey.

They count and inspect their health as part of a swan census and deliver Injured or unwell swans to veterinary care.

royal family swans
David Barber will continue to work with swan rescue organisations (Credit: Instagram @theroyalfamily)

However, the Royal Family explained on their Instagram that this year’s Swan Upping has been cancelled.

Cancelled due to COVID-19

Because of lockdown and social distancing, spectators will not see the uniformed swan counters this year.

Since the 12th century the royal family have had technical ownership of Britain’s wild swans.

Once revered as a luxurious delicacy, they are now protected as beloved British wildlife.

the queen swans
The Queen is a well-known animal lover (Credit: Instagram @theroyalfamily)

The description for their post includes: “This week would have been the annual Swan Upping – the census of the families of swans on the River Thames.‬

A tradition that harks back centuries

“Although the Swan Upping ceremony will not take place this year, The Queen’s Swan Marker and his team are still working closely with the Thames Swan Rescue Organisations to protect the swans and cygnets, and their natural habitat.”

Over on the account’s story, users get a brief history of Swan Upping.

It concludes with a delightful photo of The Queen smiling as she receives a cygnet.


David Barber is the Queen’s current Swan Marker. He shared in a statement his disappointment.

“Although not unexpected, it is of course disappointing that members of the public and local schoolchildren will not be able to enjoy Swan Upping this year,” he wrote.

“It is always a great opportunity for the young people who attend to learn about mute swans. And see first-hand the health checks we carry out on every single family of swans along the river.”

In a previous interview with the BBC, he said that swans are under threat.

He said: “We’ve had a pretty rough time with…dog attacks, all sorts of things – like mink.”

“They’re not indigenous to this country and they’re breeding like mad on the river here, and they do take a lot of young cygnets.”

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