A 5-year-old Brit with big dreams of babysitting a swan for the weekend did what any sensible would-be bird caretaker might do: she reached out to Queen Elizabeth II for permission.

And though Lyndsay Simpson did not end up with a swan to play with, she did end up with a letter from Buckingham Palace that she’ll likely hold on to for the rest of her life.

Per the Petersfield Post, Simpson initially thought to write Her Majesty a letter after hearing that the Queen of England owns every single swan in the U.K. (Technically, she only owns mute swans that are unmarked.) 

As Simpson’s grandmother told the local paper, “She put her name on the bottom and wrote age 5. We put it in an envelope addressed to the Queen and then we thought nothing more of it.”

As The Times reports, she received a unexpected response from the palace’s Deputy Correspondence Coordinator Jennie Vine, writing that the Queen had taken note of her inquiry:

However, she explained that the belief that the Queen owned all swans was a common misconception dating back centuries, adding: “Her Majesty owns mute swans and only exercises her right of ownership over swans on certain parts of the River Thames.”

Ms Vine said that the Queen was encouraged to hear of Lyndsay’s love of swans, and sent her a booklet on swan upping, an annual ceremony where the birds are caught, tagged and released.

Naturally, Simpson was reportedly thrilled with the response. 

Sure, it’s not an actual swan, but it’s delightfully close.



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