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A five-year-old girl who wrote to the Queen to ask if she could borrow a swan for the weekend has received an unexpected reply from Buckingham Palace.
Lyndsay Simpson penned the letter after being informed by her mum Jennifer Bax that the Queen owns all the swans in Britain.
The little girl told Her Majesty of her love of swans, promising she would take good care of one by keeping it in the bath, the Times reported.
In a kind reply, Jennie Vine, deputy correspondence co-ordinator at the Palace, thanked the little girl for the request and said that the Queen had taken “careful note” of her comments.
She also explained that the Queen does not own every swan in the land, and added the idea is nothing more than a centuries-old urban myth.
She added: “Her Majesty owns mute swans and only exercises her right of ownership over swans on certain parts of the River Thames.”
Ms Vine sent Lyndsay a booklet on swan upping, an annual ceremony where the birds are caught, tagged and released.
Ms Bax, from Petersfield in Hampshire, said that her daughter was thrilled with the response.
She told the Times: “My daughter Lyndsay has always loved swans and she has always asked me if we could have one.
“I told her the Queen owns them, and she suggested that if she wrote her a letter she might let her have one for the weekend,” she said.
Lyndsay received a reply on August 23.
The letter did not directly address the advisability of keeping a swan in the bath, but it did say: “It should be remembered that as native wild birds, swans now enjoy statutory protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
“The Queen was encouraged to know of your interest in our native birdlife and thought it kind of you to write as you did.”
“It’s absolutely amazing that they took the time and trouble to write to a little girl of five,” Lyndsay’s grandmother Carol Bax told the Petersfield Post.
“She was ecstatic. It was just charming. What it’s meant to that little girl – it will stay with her forever.”
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