Telling the Bees

From Ebenezer Cobham Brewer’s dictionary of Character Sketches:

Bees (Telling the), a superstition still prevalent in some rural districts that the bees must be told at once if a death occur in the family, or every swarm will take flight.

Daily Mail reports:

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.

I find this beautiful and proper.

God Save the King

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.

I revered Her Majesty deeply and emotionally. Earlier this year I wrote a short encomium on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. It must now serve as eulogy. The Queen is dead, long live The King.

The Platinum Jubilee

In a radio broadcast on her twenty-first birthday in 1947, Her Majesty The Queen—then Princess Elizabeth—told the British Commonwealth and Empire, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” She acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, seventy years ago today. That makes her the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.

Generations have come and gone within her reign. I was born a few years after the Silver Jubilee and am now middle aged. Not since Queen Victoria could anyone have said the same. During that time she has given us the very model of a life of service.

God save the Queen.

Rest in Peace, Prince Philip

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has died, aged 99. The palace released the following notice:

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Further announcements will be made in due course.

The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.

Official forms of service for the Church of England have been published by The Queen’s Printer. Selected collects appear below:

Eternal God, our maker and redeemer, grant us, with your servant PHILIP, Duke of Edinburgh, and all the faithful departed, the sure bene ts of your Son’s saving passion and glorious resurrection: that, in the last day, when you gather up all things in Christ, we may with them enjoy the fullness of your promises; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hear, O Lord, the prayers of your people, as we remember before you His Royal Highness PHILIP, Duke of Edinburgh: and grant that we who confess your name on earth may with him be made perfect in the kingdom of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Merciful Father and Lord of all life, we praise you that we are made in your image and re ect your truth and light. We thank you for the life of His Royal Highness PHILIP, Duke of Edinburgh, for the love he received from you and showed among us. Above all, we rejoice at your gracious promise to all your servants, living and departed, that we shall rise again at the coming of Christ. And we ask that in due time we may share with your servant Philip that clearer vision promised to us in the same Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.