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Tower of London welcomes new raven chick ‘Rex’ in historic Coronation year

A new raven chick has joined the flock at the Tower of London, arriving at the ancient landmark in this historic Coronation year. The new arrival, named Rex, was born at the end of March as part of the Tower raven breeding programme and will join the six other ravens who rule the roost at this famous palace, fortress and prison.

Rex has been named for the Latin title meaning “King, Ruler”, which follows the name of a reigning King – appropriate for a Tower raven born in the year of HM King Charles III’s Coronation. The name Rex also echoes the new cypher of King Charles III that appears on the uniforms of Yeoman Warders, and above the entrance to the Jewel House – home to the Crown Jewels - at the Tower of London. The cypher displays the intertwining initials “C” and “R”, representing “Charles” and “Rex”, an update from Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s cypher “Elizabeth Regina”, meaning “Queen”.

It is thought that King Charles II was the first to insist that the ravens of the Tower of London be protected, sparking the famous legend that survives to this day. Supposedly, the King’s astronomer John Flamsteed, who had an observatory in the White Tower, complained that the resident ravens were impeding his work and requested their removal. The King was advised that if the ravens left the Tower then the Kingdom would fall – an alarming sentiment for a recently restored monarch – and the legend has been kept alive ever since.

Rex joins Jubilee, Harris, Poppy, Georgie, Branwen and Edgar at the Tower of London, where they are cared for by the Ravenmaster YW Chris Skaife, and his team. They are fed a variety of raw meat each day, plus an egg once a week and blood-soaked biscuits as a special treat. They spend their days getting up to mischief at the Tower, playing games, mimicking sounds, ‘cawwing’ from the rooftops, and even poaching the occasional sandwich from an unsuspecting visitor!

The result of the Tower of London’s successful raven breeding programme, which started in 2019 with the ambition of securing the future of the Tower ravens for generations to come, Rex is the half-brother of several of the Tower’s existing residents. He will spend his first few weeks in the enclosure adjusting to the sights and sounds of his new home, before being slowly introduced to brother and sister Edgar and Branwen, born at the Tower in 2021, who will show him the ropes.

The common raven is the biggest member of the corvid family, and is all black with a large bill, long winds, and a diamond-shaped tail. They are intelligent birds that spend time in flocks in their youth, but tend to mate for life and defend their territory together. The most commonly used name for a group of ravens is an ‘unkindness’, but they are also sometimes collectively described as a ‘conspiracy’.

Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife, Ravenmaster of the Tower of London, said:

“We’re delighted to be welcoming another new chick to join the raven community here at the Tower in this historic Coronation year. Visitors can expect to see Rex out and about around the Tower of London this summer.”

Notes to Editors

For further information and images please contact Jessica England in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office via [email protected] / 020 3166 6166

Historic Royal Palaces is a team of people who love and look after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world. We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted. We tell stories about the monarchs you know and the lives you don’t. We let people explore and we set minds racing. We are a charity and your support gives the palaces a future, for everyone.

Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk

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