A young girl of five has written to The Queen, asking if she could borrow a swan for the weekend, to keep as a pet – and she received a wonderful response from Buckingham Palace.
Lyndsay Simpson asked her mum if she could have a swan as a pet, having been fascinated by the large birds. Mother, Jennifer, informed Lyndsay that Her Majesty owned all the swans in the UK, so she’d have to ask the Monarch about that.
Note: Her Majesty only has rights to the mute swans of Britain, but only lays claim to those on a stretch of the Thames; they are counted in a swan census, known as ‘swan upping’, each year.
In her letter, Lyndsay conveyed her love of swans and how she planned to keep the bird in the bath, should The Queen be so kind as to let her ‘borrow’ one.
A letter was received from one of The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, clarifying this myth, but also expressing Her Majesty’s happiness at knowing a child was interested in birds.
The Queen has asked me to thank you for your letter…from which Her Majesty has taken careful note of your comments regarding the keeping of swans as pets.
I should perhaps explain that it is a common misconception that The Queen owns all the swans in the United Kingdom. Her Majesty owns mute swans and only exercises her right of ownership over swans on certain parts of the River Thames.
It should be remembered that as native wild birds, swans now enjoy statutory protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The Queen was encouraged to know of your interest in our native birdlife and thought it kind of you to write as you did.
The letter was accompanied by a booklet on swan upping, and Jennifer explained that her daughter was thrilled with it, despite the negative response to her request.
In the last year, the number of cygnets counted in the census has almost doubled, from 72 to 132.
Lyndsay’s grandmother, Carol Bax added: “It’s absolutely amazing that they took the time and trouble to write to a little girl of five. She was ecstatic. It was just charming. What it’s meant to that little girl – it will stay with her forever,” she told the Petersfield Post.
If you’d like to write to The Queen, or another member of the Royal Family, see our tips here.