The Royal Family’s Love for Bees
King Charles III accepted a jar of honey as a gift from soccer star David Beckham and joked about sharing the honey from his own hives. But it was Kate Middleton who proved to be the real royal bee lover when she posted an Instagram photo of herself in full beekeeping gear in honour of World Bee Day. The photo, taken by Matt Porteous, shows the Princess tending the hives of Anmer Hall, the Norfolk countryside home she shares with Prince William. “Bees are a vital part of our ecosystem,” reads the caption of the photo, “and today is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and our planet healthy.”
The Middleton Family’s Beekeeping Hobby
In recent years, there have been some hints that Kate was becoming a beekeeping enthusiast. In 2020, her younger brother James Middleton wrote an essay for the Daily Mail about starting beekeeping ten years prior, noting that his first hives were gifted by their parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and sisters Kate and Pippa Matthews. During a 2021 engagement at the Natural History Museum, Kate brought a jar of honey from her hives and shared it with a group of children: “This is specially from my hive,” she said. “Whenever you see a bee, thank it for making delicious honey.”
The Royal Family’s Beekeeping History
During Queen Elizabeth II’s reign there have been some beekeepers tending hives near Buckingham Palace, and now David Beckham gifting honey to Charles. The royal family certainly seem to have a soft spot for bees. In addition to the Crown’s hives, Charles has a handful at Highgrove, his countryside estate in Gloucestershire. The original hives were built as part of the estate’s renovation after purchase in 1980, and since the 1990s he has been selling honey from the estate. He later started selling a cheaper honey from the Balmoral bees. In 2015, Queen Camilla also installed hives in the gardens of Ray Mill, her Wiltshire property, and sold a limited edition supply of honey in collaboration with Fortnum & Mason. In 2020 she also became president of Bees for Development, a charity that trains beekeepers and protects habitats in over 50 countries.