THE Queen’s beekeeper has broken the news of her death to his hive because of a unique superstition.

John Chapple, 79, also placed black ribbons in a bow on hives at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House and told them to be good to new master King Charles.

The bizarre ritual is underpinned by an old superstition that not to tell them would lead to the bees not producing honey or leaving the hive.

Mr Chapple told MailOnline: “It is traditional when someone dies that you go to the hives and say a little prayer and put a black ribbon on the hive.

“You knock on each hive and say, ‘The mistress is dead, but don't you go. Your master will be a good master to you.”

It comes as…

  • The Queen has begun her final journey after her coffin was taken from her beloved Balmoral
  • A sombre Princess Anne followed her late mother's coffin from Balmoral this morning
  • Mourners in Scotland showed an incredible mark of respect for the Queen
  • The website of the firm on the side of the Queen's coffin crashed just seconds after it appeared on TV
  • Princes William and Harry and wives Kate and Meghan dramatically reunited yesterday in tribute to the Queen
  • Princess Kate revealed son Louis' poignant reaction after she told him the Queen had died

Mr Chapple, who has been the official palace beekeeper for 15 years, takes care of over a million bees during the summer.

He said: “I’m retired. I’m 79. It’s my hobby, beekeeping and now I look after a few hives for important people.

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“Number one is the Queen, or rather was, the Queen.

“I was the Queen’s beekeeper and hopefully now I’ll get the job of being the King’s beekeeper.”

“‘I hope they still want to keep the bees on their premises. You never know. They might say, take them away but I don’t think that will happening though really you do never know.

‘It’s up to the new tenant of Buckingham Palace.’

It comes as The Queen is travelling from her beloved Balmoral ahead of her state funeral on September 19.

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Crowds line streets as Queen begins final journey with coffin driven by hearse

Mourners are lining the streets to pay their respects as Her Majesty's oak coffin makes its slow procession.

The emotional scenes are being broadcast live on television, with millions tuning in from home.

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