Queen's Windsor swans killed after suspected bird flu outbreak

The monarch is being kept informed Credit: Sang Tan/PA

It's feared more than 20 of the Queen's swans, from her Windsor flock, have died from bird flu.

Twenty more are seriously ill and also expected to die.

The monarch, who technically owns all unmarked mute swans in open water in Britain, is being kept informed.

20 swans, from the Queen's Windsor flock, have died Credit: ITV Meridian

Defra confirmed that seven of the swans that died were being tested for birdflu.

An annual stock-take, known as Swan Upping, takes place each summer on the River Thames.

The ceremony dates back to the 12th century when the ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water in Britain was claimed by the Crown in order to ensure a supply for feasts.

Seven of the dead swans are being tested for bird flu Credit: ITV Meridian

Today, the Queen exercises this right only on certain stretches of the river and surrounding tributaries.

As of the 30th January, there have been six findings of bird flu in wild birds in England.

But none in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.