The royal beekeeper—in an arcane tradition thought to date back centuries—has informed the hives kept in the grounds of Buckingham Palace and Clarence House of the Queen’s death.
And the bees have also been told, in hushed tones, that their new master is now King Charles III. The official Palace beekeeper, John Chapple, 79, told MailOnline how he travelled to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House on Friday following news of The Queen’s death to carry out the superstitious ritual.
He placed black ribbons tied into bows on the hives, home to tens of thousands of bees, before informing them that their mistress had died and that a new master would be in charge from now on.
The Queen has died, aged 96. The palace released the following notice from her heir and successor King Charles III:
The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.
Official guidance for prayer and liturgy has been given by the Church of England. The collects below are suitable for private devotion:
1 – A prayer of thanksgiving
Eternal God, our heavenly Father, we bless your holy name for all that you have given us in and through the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth. We give you thanks: for her love of family and her gift of friendship; for her devotion to this nation and the nations of the Commonwealth; for her grace, dignity and courtesy; and for her generosity and love of life.We praise you for: the courage that she showed in testing times; the depth and of her Christian faith; and the witness she bore to it in word and deed.Accept our thanks and praise, we pray, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2 – A prayer of commendation
God our creator and redeemer, by your power Christ conquered death and returned to you in glory. Confident of his victory and claiming his promises, we entrust your servant Elizabeth into your keeping in the name of Jesus our Lord, who, though he died, is now alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.
3 – A prayer for those who mourn
Father of all mercies and God of all consolation, you pursue us with untiring love and dispel the shadow of death with the bright dawn of life. Give courage to the Royal Family in their loss and sorrow. Be their refuge and strength, O Lord; reassure them of your continuing love and lift them from the depths of grief into the peace and light of your presence. Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by dying has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life. Your Holy Spirit, our comforter, speaks for us in groans too deep for words. Come alongside your people, remind them of your eternal presence and give them your comfort and strength. Amen.
4 – A prayer for the new King
Lord God, you provide for your people by your power, and rule over them in love: Grant to your servant our King the Spirit of wisdom and discernment, that being devoted to you with his whole heart, he may so wisely govern, that in his time we may live in safety and in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
He was fastidious to a degree in his appearance. No one ever saw him unshaven, dishevelled or wearing the wrong clothes for the occasion…
In 1955 he wrote to Hawes & Curtis ordering eight suits from thirty yards of special tweed material and stressed that he wanted them to undertake not to sell the pattern to any other of their clients ‘so that it remains exclusive to Broadlands’. Three months later he wrote again saying he realised that this was not practical. His correspondence with H&C reveals the extent of his attention to the smallest detail in his eternal quest to be dressed always in the correct manner.
Pictured above: Lord Mountbatten with the young Prince Charles both looking timeless circa 1975.
I want to encourage much greater understanding of wool not only as a global environmental resource—versatile, sustainable, renewable and natural—but also as a global fashion resource of the highest quality, with a natural elasticity that makes it easy to care for and a cell structure that allows it to adapt to its environment, making it cool to wear in summer and warm in winter.
In 1987, The Prince of Wales famously excoriated the shortsighted city planners and developers who rebuilt London after the Second World War. “You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe” he said. “When it knocked down our buildings, it didn’t replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that.”
Decades earlier the weird-fiction writer and sometime Londoner Arthur Machen expressed similar sentiments. In the Spring 2019 issue of Faunus, R.B. Russell quotes a letter by Machen to Montgomery Evans around the end of the War. Machen writes:
And that brings me to the confession that I don’t curse the Germans very fiercely for their London destruction so far as the new buildings are concerned. It is we who destroyed London & wrecked the Strand, pulled down the Adelphi, abolished Clifford’s Inn (pre-Great Fire), built flats where Clements Inn once stood with green lawns. You can remember the old Café Royal: it wasn’t Germans who ruined it. And as for the Wren churches in the City: it was with great difficulty that the Bishop of London was restrained from pulling many of them down & selling the sites 20 years ago.
This week the Prince’s Countryside Fund released a Village Survival Guide. The 104-page booklet addresses challenges and needs facing rural communities in Britain. It follows from the belief of Prince Charles that, “The role of the countryside, with all its diversity and idiosyncrasies, in our national life is too important to be left to chance.”
The guide offers ten suggestions, including the reorientation of village life around the time-honored poles of pub, parish church, and post office. These are elaborated upon with stories and advice. Read the whole report and order a printed copy here.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London closed in June of 2017 after 450 years in business. For the past 250 years the foundry has occupied premises at 32–34 Whitechapel Road. Big Ben was cast there. So was the Liberty Bell. Parts of the Grade II* listed building date back to 1670 when a coaching inn called The Artichoke stood at the site.
Now developers Raycliff intend to build a 100-room hotel on the property, absorbing the protected portions into a larger modernist complex. This would be a shame.
But the UK Historic Building Preservation Trust, an independent charity founded by The Prince of Wales, wants to buy the factory back. The Trust would run the site as a high-tech business, producing bells as it always has. According to the proposal:
In order to thrive as a working, forward-looking foundry, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry will diversify and update its bell casting techniques and materials while working to integrate the latest technology in 3D recording and output methods, acoustic recording and multispectral photography…
The Foundry will celebrate and share its prestigious history and the story of bell-making through educational exhibits and the creation of a nationwide archive of bells and their sounds. Apprenticeships and training programmes, together with school outreach activities, will be at the core of the new WBF.
“All around me is what used to be one of the architectural wonders of the world: London.”
In this short excerpt from the 1988 BBC documentary HRH Prince Of Wales: A Vision Of Britain, Prince Charles discusses the transformation of the London skyline and the redevelopment of Birmingham in the post-war period. The Prince is a passionate advocate for traditional architecture and city planning. His critique of modernism is blunt, eloquent, and entirely correct.
This video has been little seen since it originally aired on Newsnight. I am delighted to have unearthed it.