Princess Kate Joins a Long Royal Tradition By Showing Off Her Beekeeping Skills
On Thursday, King Charles III accepted a gift of honey from soccer star David Beckham and made a joke about sharing the honey from his own apiaries. But on Saturday, Princess Kate revealed herself as the royal family’s true bee-lover when she posted a photograph of herself in full beekeeping gear to Instagram in honor of World Bee Day. In the photo taken by Matt Porteous, she is tending to the beehives at Anmer Hall, the Norfolk country home she shares with Prince William.
“We are buzzing about #WorldBeeDay 🐝,” the photograph’s caption read. “Bees are a vital part of our ecosystem and today is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and the planet healthy.”
Over the last few years, there have been a few clues that Kate was becoming an avid beekeeper. In 2020, her younger brother James Middleton wrote an essay for the Daily Mail about taking up beekeeping a decade earlier, noting that his first beehives were gifts from his parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, along with his sisters, Kate and Pippa Matthews. During a June 2021 engagement at the Natural History Museum, Kate brought a jar of honey from her beehives and shared it with a group of children. “This came specially from my beehive,” she said. “Every time you see a bee, say thank you so much because they make delicious honey.”
There were a handful of beekeepers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, tending to beehives near Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Windsor Castle, and on a 2014 visit to Italy, the late queen presented Pope Francis with honey from the palace gardens and a bottle of whiskey from the Balmoral Estate. Last fall, attention turned to the official royal beehives after beekeeper John Chapple followed the tradition of informing the palace bees of her death by tying a black ribbon around the hives.
In addition to the Crown’s hives, Charles also has a handful of his own at Highgrove, his country estate in Gloucestershire. His original hives were constructed as a part of the renovations to the estate after he purchased it in 1980, and he has been selling honey from the estate since the 1990s. He later began selling a more affordable honey sourced from bees at Balmoral. In 2015, Queen Camilla also installed beehives on the gardens of Ray Mill, her property in Wiltshire and sold a limited-edition supply of honey in partnership with the department store Fortnum & Mason. In 2020, she also became the president of Bees for Development, a charity that trains beekeepers and protects habitats in over 50 countries.