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Will An Outbreak Of Bird Flu At Windsor Castle Affect The Royal Wedding?

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As a nation, the United Kingdom is subject to countless strange and archaic rules and regulations. One of these traditions decrees that the Queen is the official owner of each and every swan in England and Wales (and, apparently, can stake a claim to any sturgeons, whales, porpoises and dolphins swimming in UK waters). An unusual perk of the job, no?

Now, it seems that the Queen’s status as owner-in-chief of the UK’s swan population might be causing her some emotional turmoil, as over 20 of the birds in her Windsor flock have reportedly succumbed to an outbreak of bird flu sweeping the country.

Reports suggest that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are investigation the avian flu outbreak.

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‘Over 20 swans have died now and there’s a lot which are seriously ill which will die – well over 20 more,’ explained David Barber who, as the Queen’s official Swan Marker, is responsible for carrying out an annual census of the royal swans, a tradition known as the Swan Upping which dates back around 800 years.

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‘We are deeply saddened by the loss of these swans. We’re waiting to hear from Defra, but yes, it is bird flu. I’m sure the Queen would be concerned,’ he said. ‘You cannot do anything about it. It will burn itself out. They’re wild birds and it is spread by wild birds and we’ve been very unlucky.’

While some commentators have expressed concern that the Windsor outbreak might impact upon Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, which will take place at St George’s Chapel in May, this is very unlikely. The chances of avian flu being transmitted from birds to humans is very low, meaning that preparations for the ceremony are likely to carry on regardless.