The legend the Crown, the Kingdom and the Tower of London will crumble if all the ravens leave their iconic home in the capital has started to circulate again after one of its inhabitants went missing. Just before Christmas, staff at the Tower realised that one of their most-beloved ravens, Merlina, had disappeared from the capital’s landmark.
Weeks after, the raven is still nowhere to be found.
While Merlina’s prolonged absence has left staff at the Tower looking after the ravens fearing her death, the Yeoman Warder appears confident the Queen’s reign is not in immediate danger.
Chris Skaife, Ravenmaster at the Tower, spoke fondly about Merlina.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “Just before Christmas, before we went into the lockdown, we were putting the ravens to bed, and she didn’t come back.
“Now Merlina is a free-spirited raven that has been known to leave the Tower precincts on many occasion, but I’m her buddy, and so she normally comes back to us, but this time she didn’t so I do fear that she is not with us anymore.
“Obviously as the Ravenmaster, my concern is looking after the kingdom.
“Should the ravens leave the Tower of London will crumble to dust, and great harm will befall the kingdom.
“Of course that is myth and legend.”
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The ravenmaster, however, put at rest even those more keen to believe in the famous legend, joking he has ravens to spare at the Tower of London.
He continued: “But we do have seven ravens here at the Tower of London, six by royal decree and of course I still have a spare one, so we’re OK at the moment.”
In a statement, the Tower of London said: “We have some really unhappy news to share.
“Our much-loved raven Merlina has not been seen at the Tower for several weeks, and her continued absence indicates to us that she may have sadly passed away.
“Though it isn’t unusual for our ravens to roam outside the walls, free-spirited Merlina has previously always returned to the Tower and to the Ravenmaster and his team, with whom she shared a wonderfully close bond.
“We now have seven ravens here at the Tower, one more than the required six, so we don’t have any immediate plans to fill Merlina’s vacancy.
“However in time we hope that a new chick from our breeding programme will be up to the formidable challenge of continuing her legacy.
“Since joining us in 2007, Merlina was our undisputed ruler of the roost, Queen of the Tower Ravens.
“She will be greatly missed by her fellow ravens, the Ravenmaster, and all of us in the Tower community.”
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