Sun calls on patriotic Brits to save the Tower of London's ravens & keep the monarchy from falling

PATRIOTIC Brits are today urged to visit the Tower of London to save its ravens — and the country.

A lack of tourists means the six “bored” birds are straying. If they fly away, the monarchy and Britain will fall, it is said.

Worryingly, two of the seven birds — Merlina and Jubilee — have already begun venturing beyond the castle precincts to forage for food.

Today The Sun urges Brits to visit the attraction — home to the Crown Jewels and where the monarch’s enemies were once executed — for the good of the nation.

Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife said: “If the ravens were to leave, the Tower would crumble to dust.

"The Tower is only the Tower when the people are here.

“The ravens have always been so important to the Tower because they’ve been surrounded by myths and legends.

"We really need people to come back to help the ravens.”

The castle closed its doors on March 20 and reopened five weeks ago.

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Summer visitor numbers would usually be above 15,000 but because of Covid-19 they have fallen to less than 800 a day — leaving the birds restless for more company.

Royal protocol dictates that there have to be at least six birds in the Tower at any one time — plus a “spare”.

The current ravens are Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy and Merlina.

Mr Skaife said that during lockdown they got bored and lonely because there were no full bins to rummage or people handing over their lunch.

He had to give the birds teddies, footballs and squeaky dog toys to keep them entertained.

He also encouraged Beefeaters to throw them their leftovers.

Mr Skaife added: “It’s been tough because the ravens only saw me or one warden walking by during the lockdown. They depend on tourists.

He revealed Merlina and Jubilee are now known as “Bonnie and Clyde” after reaching as far as the visitors’ exit and also tapping on the windows of Beefeaters’ homes to beg for food.

Mr Skaife said: “Never in a raven’s history have we seen fewer people in the Tower of London.

"Even in World War Two, there were still hundreds in and around.”

Last year the Tower attracted three million visitors.

That made it the UK’s most popular paid-for attraction, with two thirds of visitors from overseas.

According to legend, Charles II ordered ravens be kept there after he was warned that if they ever left “the kingdom will fall”.

Concern for the birds comes weeks after the Tower announced that Beefeaters are facing redundancies for the first time.

The pecking order

THE continued presence of ravens at the Tower of London has for centuries been linked to the very preservation of Britain.

Six are always kept there and legend has it that the Crown, the kingdom and the Tower itself will fall if they ever leave.

In the times of Henry VIII, the birds are said to have sat eerily silent on the battlements in 1536 while Anne Boleyn was beheaded.

The ravens used to peck the eyes of executed prisoners, it is claimed.

In the 1600s, King Charles II’s astronomer, John Flamsteed, complained the birds’ chattering put him off his work.

When the king ordered that they be destroyed — he was allegedly warned that dire luck would follow for the Crown and country.

Instead, he instructed they be fed and sheltered forever.

Despite the impressive tales, some historians believe the “Tower’s raven mythology is likely to be a Victorian flight of fantasy”.

It is thought they were the first pets kept by Beefeaters. There was a craze for ravens after an 1845 Edgar Allen Poe poem.

Ian Brown of rock band The Stone Roses once told Melody Maker: “We’re all anti-royalist, anti-patriarch, cos its 1989, time to get real!

“When the ravens leave the Tower, England shall fall they say.

“We want to be there shooting the ravens.”

The Tower was built by William the Conquerer in the early 1080s. The site now includes a fortress, palace and prison.

Inmates have included Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More and Guy Fawkes.

  • THE Tower is open every week, Wednesday to Sunday from 10am. Last admission at 4.30pm. It will also open on Bank Holiday Monday, August 31

Winging it during escapes

  • THE Tower’s ravens’ wings are not clipped. The Ravenmaster occasionally trims their feathers to encourage them to stay but all are able to fly out.
  • PAST escapes included one called Muninn who flew to Greenwich, South East London, and was returned by a member of the public after seven days.
  • RAVEN George was “dismissed” for eating television aerials and another called Grog was last seen outside an East End pub.
  • THE birds can mimic sounds, play games and solve problems, but respond only to the Ravenmaster.
  • AS a treat, they get biscuits soaked in blood.
  • THE oldest raven to live at the fortress was born in 1884 and reached the grand old age of 44.
  • THEIR bespoke oak homes were designed by award-winning architects.
  • LAST year raven chicks were born at the Tower for the first time in 30 years.
  • THEY cover up to 100 miles in a day in the wild. Collective nouns for ravens are “unkindness”, “treachery” and “conspiracy”.

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