All swans living in rivers and lakes of Great Britain really belong to the monarch. The reverent attitude towards swans in this country dates back to the 15th century and is connected not with some beautiful legend, but with the gastronomic predilections of the nobility at that time. Swan meat was considered a royal delicacy and the common people were strictly forbidden to eat it. So in 1483 a decree was issued forbidding residents to breed swans. And in 1496, a year in prison and a large fine was imposed on a captured or stolen swan's egg. Breeding swans was allowed only under a royal license to a narrow circle of people.
Over time, a special system of marks was even developed, which were carved into the beaks of birds, so that anyone could identify who owns a particular swan. If there was no mark on the beak, it meant that the bird belonged to the king.
By the 18th century, swan meat had ceased to be valued and considered "royal", and due to the increased activity of animal rights defenders, the practice of marking swans gradually faded. But the tradition according to which the majestic birds belong to the monarch, that is, the Queen of Great Britain, has survived.
Now, however, it is believed that the Queen of Great Britain owns only the swans living on the Thames and its tributaries. To remind subjects of this, a ceremony called Swan Inventory is held once a year, when swans on the Thames are caught, ringed and released, counting in the process. In 2009, Queen Elizabeth II became the first monarch in several centuries to personally attend this procedure.
The cavalcade of boats always sails past Windsor Palace and, raising the oars, proclaims the slogan, unchanged for centuries, "Long live the monarch, Lord of the swans!"
By the way, sturgeons, whales and dolphins living in the territorial waters of Great Britain are still the property of the Queen. This is also a very old law - it was passed in 1324.