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The Queen Wasn't Laughing At A Prince Philip Prank, She Was Giggling At Subjects Being Swarmed By Bees

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockApr 12 2021, 12:53 UTC
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The Queen laughing

The Queen laughing, this time not at bees attacking her subjects. Lorna Roberts/shutterstock.com

A photo has gone viral over the last few days, following the death of the UK's Prince Philip. According to a number of posts on Facebook and Twitter, it supposedly shows the Queen laughing at Prince Philip when she realized that he had played a hilarious prank, dressing up as a Beefeater.

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As fun as this story is, it isn't true. Prince Philip would often dress in this attire for normal events, so it wasn't unusual for the Queen to see him like this. What was unusual was that during this particular event, a swarm of bees was causing mayhem on the Windsor Palace lawns.

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The Queen was actually giggling her face off as a swarm of bees attacked her subjects. 

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The bees swarmed guests at the Queen's Company Grenadier ceremonial review in April 2003. The bees began to settle on the chairs left out for the invited guests, who were unsure whether to move or not, perhaps thinking a ceremonial bee attack was all part of normal proceedings. 

"She was giggling like a little girl," photographer Chris Young told the BBC. "He was laughing too."

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The royal beekeepers – yes, there are royal beekeepers, and some of them have been charged with giving banned drugs to bees – were called in to deal with the situation, and in the end, there was only one victim of the attack: a former sergeant major who was stung on the forehead

"The queen bee had left her hive and was looking for a new place to stay," said the royal beekeeper Peter Sheppard, explaining what caused the swarm.

So there you have it, it was still a touching moment – if you like your romantic photos with a little soupçon of insect-on-human violence.


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