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Ravenmaster at the Tower of London mourn the loss of ‘Queen’ Merlina

14 Jan 2021 / 15:14 H.

The Tower of London has a unique tradition spanning years. The Tower must always have ravens residing in it due to a legend. If the legend is to be believed, the kingdom and fortress will fall if the birds ever leave.

According to the BBC, Charles II is believed to have been the first monarch to officially decree that the birds must be kept at the Tower at all times.

When the number of birds fell to one, Winston Churchill ordered that the number of birds to be increased to six. Loving the contingency plan here.

It’s safe to say that the ravens mean a lot to the proud locals. There was a slight alarm when Merlina, the “queen” raven, went missing for a few days.

Merlina. Image by Historic Royal Palaces
Merlina. Image by Historic Royal Palaces

Queen Merlina joined the flock in 2007 and has not been seen for several weeks. A spokesman said her continued absence indicates that she may have sadly passed.

"Merlina was our undisputed ruler of the roost, queen of the Tower ravens,” he said.

"She will be greatly missed by her fellow ravens, the ravenmaster, and all of us in the Tower community."

Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife misses Merlina greatly and said he would be taking some time off to mourn Merlina.

“I know so many of you lovely folk will be saddened by this news,“ he said in a social media post.

“None more than me. Please excuse my absence for a few days.”

BBC also reported that there are no immediate plans to replace Merlina.

However, the locals need not worry because since 2018, the Tower launched a raven breeding programme after Historic Royal Palaces warned it was becoming increasingly difficult to source the birds.

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