English Police Hunt Person Who Killed And Barbecued One of Queen’s Swans

220px-Mute_Swan_Emsworth2170px-Robin_shoots_with_sir_Guy_by_Louis_Rhead_1912There is an investigation afoot in England where someone felled one of the Queen’s swans, plucked it, and barbecued it on the riverbank near Windsor Castle.  In a throwback to the age of Robin Hood, all swans in England remain the property of the Crown and, until 1988, killing a swan was an act of treason.  The Mute Swans remain protected under law.


Notably, swans were kept as a delicacy to be eaten by the King and Queen. It appears that someone stepped above their station and decided to have a meal fit for a King.

What struck me as curious about this story (beyond the obvious) was the statement of the government in news reports that “Today, the Crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but the queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries.” That creates a rather odd criminal law — all swans belong to the Queen but she only “exercises” ownership along certain areas of the Thames. How would someone know that? Is it still a crime in areas that turn out not to be one of those where the Queen’s claim is “exercised”?

Once again, I remain surprised that our English brethren continue to maintain a royal family with such lingering prerogatives. However, if you insist on having a royal family, it might be useful to have clarity. In this case, the law seems to suggest that you cannot hunt swans on not just the Queen’s land but on any land . . . but it may or may not be enforced.

22 thoughts on “English Police Hunt Person Who Killed And Barbecued One of Queen’s Swans”

  1. The Dude also loved Credence. A Credence tape was stolen along w/ his car and “some papers..you know papers, personal papers.”

  2. Why do people call it a “hereditary monarchy”?

    It should be called a sedentary monarchy. Those idiots are paid to sit around and do nothing.

    The only thing they ever actually do is have sex and produce babies. Anyone else with that job description would be called a prostitute, but not if you’re a “royal”.

  3. Maybe it was a political statement from someone who was hungry. Who better to steal food from than those who have much more than rest.

  4. I guess the Mute Swans, that are really not mute, just have to learn to swim in the non-Queen owned waters.
    Blouise,
    I do love Credence!

  5. There’s really no relevance to the subject of this thread in this post of mine except that these guys were good friends back in the day, I like this song and it’s about a river and a queen:

  6. What does this story have to do with freedom of speech. It sounds like freedom of eat.

  7. Bingo nick….. Only negated by Obamas understanding of the BOR, DOI…. and/or constitution…..

  8. …. so, you defend the right to freedom of speech unless it’s something YOU don’t like Jonathon Turley ….. you are a BIGGOT

  9. Notably, swan were kept as a delicacy to be eaten by the King and Queen. It appears that someone stepped above their station and decided to have a meal fit for a King.”

    A hangover from feudalism where the king owned everything but fiefed it out to vassals in exchange for military service.

    Some of them still do quite well in the U.S.eh? according to the Washington Post:

    …during his days as a four-star general, he was once escorted by 28 police motorcycles as he traveled from his Central Command headquarters in Tampa to socialite Jill Kelley’s mansion.

    The commanders who lead the nation’s military services and those who oversee troops around the world enjoy an array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.

    The elite regional commanders who preside over large swaths of the planet don’t have to settle for Gulfstream V jets. They each have a C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737 …

    (Washington Post).

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