Sun, 17 May 2020
The royal tradition of swan upping has been cancelled this year as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
It is only the second time in 900 years that the annual census has been cancelled – the event could not go ahead in 2012 due to the fast flowing water caused by severe flooding.
The annual census of the swan population on a stretch of the River Thames has taken place since the 12th century, when the Crown took ownership of mute swans.
This year’s event was due to have been held from Monday, July 13, starting at Sunbury lock, finishing on Friday, July 17 at Abingdon Bridge, Oxfordshire.
The event is always popular and draws crowds along the river bank. Royal Swan Uppers in scarlet uniform sit together in traditional rowing skiffs, weighing and measuring cygnets and checking on the swans’ welfare, together with swan uppers from the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies.
The event, also known as the Queen's cygnet census, is led by the Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber.