Recently a Florida city has sold off three dozen swans, gifted by Queen Elizabeth II, to ease an overpopulation crisis.
In the 1950s, Queen Elizabeth sent two royal swans from her own flock to Lakeland after a Lakeland native living in England wrote to the monarch asking if she could help, after the flock which had been living there was devoured by alligators and dogs.
The Queen agreed to gift a pair if the Floridians could raise $300 to trap and safely import the breeding pair.
They were successfully transported to Lakeland on 9 February 1957. But the pair had gone missing within a week, sparking a desperate hunt for a helicopter until they were safely rediscovered.
Many might question why the need to ask for the Queens help to get swans in the first place. Because unbeknownst to many, the Queen owns most of the unmarked mute swans in the country.
A perk that comes with being the monarchs' head alongside other unusual perks such as, no passport needed, and license to break any law.
Since the 12th century, according to the official Royal Family website, the Crown has reserved the right to claim possession of all unmarked mute swans swimming in open waters across the country.
Historically, this law was established because swans were consumed as an exceptional meal at banquets and feasts. Valuable ownership rights were given to a select few by the king.
Just as nowadays people flaunt an expensive watch or a car, a swan was a representation of royalty back then. Ordinary people were forbidden from selling swans, to drive them away from land.
Swans, however, are no longer eaten today and are a protected species. There were strict punishments for harming or killing a swan hundreds of years ago, and offenders could be jailed for one year, even for stealing swan eggs.
The Queen's Swan Marker tracks the local swan population's health, advises swan welfare organisations, and works closely with swan rescue groups.
The annual "Swan Upping" event on the Thames River is also arranged-a ceremony where mute swans are rounded up, caught, ringed, and released to track the population.
Three other organisations apart from the Queen have the authorisation to own swan: Abbotsbury Swannery since the 14th century, the Vintners since the 15th century, and the Dyers since the 15th century