King Charles inherits Britain's swans along with throne

STORY: Location: Windsor, England

Date: September 12, 2022

These swans have a new owner: Britain's new King

As he inherits the throne, King Charles III has

also inherited the country's unmarked swans

[David Barber, Swan Marker to King Charles III]

“The King has the right to claim any swan swimming in open waters, unmarked, if he so wishes."

In Britain, swans are marked for ownership

in an annual ceremony called 'swan upping'

Only two old trade associations still have

rights to swan upping today

The practice dates back to medieval times

when the birds were considered a delicacy

[David Barber, Swan Marker to Britain's King Charles]

“Swans then were an extremely important food source and served up at banquets and feasts, really for the wealthy.

Of course, today swans are no longer eaten, and it's all a conservation and education exercise."

David Barber has been the Crown's

swan marker for more than 30 years

Queen Elizabeth personally presented him with

the Royal Victorian Order in 2014 for his work

Barber hopes the new King will take up

the late Queen's interest in wildlife

[David Barber, Swan Marker to Britain's King Charles]

“He’s very keen on conservation and all this type of thing, which is absolutely brilliant for us as well. So hopefully he will take a nice interest in the swan population. That will help us do our job.”