Tower of London’s Queen Raven Missing, Feared Dead

Tower of London’s Queen Raven Missing, Feared Dead

With the seven captive ravens remaining, the country may be hanging by a thread.

One of the ravens at the Tower of London has been missing for weeks, and is feared to be dead. If corroborated, this would bring the total number of ravens down to seven – an imaginably bleak outlook for Britain. 

According to legend, if there are fewer than six ravens at the castle, the fortress will fall and the kingdom with it. With the seven captive ravens remaining, the country may be hanging by a thread. 

The absent raven goes by the name of Merlina and joined the tower’s flock sometime in 2007. Described as the “undisputed ruler of the roost”, the all-black bird was last seen in the precinct just before Christmas. 

The Royal Tower took to Twitter to share the heart-rending news. 

In the 4-tweet thread, it was added that, “She will be greatly missed by her fellow ravens, the ravenmaster, and all of us in the Tower community.”

It was also revealed that as there is one more than the required minimum, the Tower does not have any “immediate plans to fill Merlina’s vacancy”. However, it hopes that the ongoing breeding programme will produce successful results. 

Also read: London Attractions: 15 Locations to Complete Your English Experience!

Rich, intriguing history 

The unusual pets that roam the Tower of London, on the River Thames are often attributed with King Charles II (who ruled Great Britain and Ireland from 1660 to 1685) and his Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed. So the story goes that the birds housed at the royal residence had provoked the ire of John Flamsteed. It seemed that they had obstructed his ‘observations’. Bothered by their presence, he expressed his dissatisfaction to King Charles II, who then ordered their destruction.

To his surprise, the king was informed that if the birds left the palatial premise, the tower would crumble and disaster would befall upon the kingdom. He acted in a wise and reasonable way – he reconsidered his command and issued a royal decree to protect the corvids.  

Guardians of the Tower of London

While most ravens have an average lifespan of between 10 to 15 years, the guardians of the Tower of London can live up to 40 years. Based on the Tower of London official website, the birds are free to wander around the sprawling area during the day. They preside over four different territories within the Tower’s walls. To prevent the ravens from taking flight, the ravenmaster would trim their feathers from time to time, without harming them.  

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Ifah Sakinah
Ifah Sakinah

Sakinah has a discerning palate and an innate desire to satisfy her inner curiosity. While she hasn't been everywhere, it's definitely on her list.


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