Photo Credit - Doug Harding, The Royal Borough Image Bank
If you've wandered down to the riverside (just five minutes from the hotel!), you'll no doubt have been captivated by the hundreds of Mute Swans that call it their home. These majestic white waterbirds have become an integral part of the Windsor's identity and hold a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Whether you take a leisurely stroll along the River Thames or visit the tranquil Alexandra Gardens, you're sure to encounter these magnificent birds gliding gracefully through the waters. 
What you may not know, however, is that the ownership of swans in England is a centuries old tradition, and that many of the birds who make their homes on the River Thames and its surrounding waters have special significance, having been owned by The Crown since medieval times, when swans were considered a delicacy and were a valuable source of food. 
In modern times, the Crown's ownership of the Thames swans is more symbolic than anything, and the swans are not seen as "possessions" as they were in the Middle Ages. Rather, the Crown's focus today is on the conservation and protection of swans. The King's Marker of the Swans, a role which dates back to the 12th Century, is responsible for carrying out the Swan Upping, an annual census, health, and well-being check of the royal swan population on the Thames. Apart from Swan Upping, The Royal Swan Marker has other duties: advising organisations throughout the country about swan welfare and incidents involving swans, working closely with swan rescue organisations, and supervising the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured swans. He also co-ordinates the safe removal of swans from stretches of the River Thames used for summer rowing regattas. 
It's important to note that while there is a historical connection between the Crown and swans, this ownership does not extend to swans found in outside of Windsor and the surrounding area; these are wild birds and although protected under standard wildlife conservation laws, they are not represented by their own officer in the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom!  
At Goswell House, we're very proud of our fine feathered friends, and we encourage you to take a stroll during your stay to see them for yourselves and appreciate their beauty. Witnessing these regal creatures in their natural habitat is truly a remarkable experience, and part of the magic of Windsor. So, as you plan your visit to our charming town-centre hotel, don't miss the opportunity to connect with nature and witness the wonder of Windsor's swans – a true reflection of the town's elegance and historic significance, just five minutes from our front door. 
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