Former royal marine responsible for fate of kingdom

Raven 1: Mouse Nil. Barney Chandler has saved the kingdom (image courtesy: Royal Historic Palaces)

Barney Chandler is Tower’s ravenmaster

A former Devon royal marine holds the fate of the United Kingdom in his grasp, as he takes up the role of Tower of London’s ravenmaster.

Michael ‘Barney’ Chandler is now yeoman warder of the Tower, caring for the seven ravens whom, legend has it, keep the kingdom intact. If they leave, it heralds the end.

The ravenmaster gets a distinctive badge featuring an emblem of the famous bird on the right sleeve of both his daily Blue Undress and red Ceremonial State uniforms.

Mr Chandler and his team must keep the ravens fed and watered on their preferred diet of raw meat, as well as the occasional egg and blood-soaked biscuit as a treat. The team are also responsible for the health and wellbeing of the ravens and ensuring they are comfortable in the Tower

He previously served for 24 years in the royal marines. As a Company Sergeant Major in 42 Commando, he served all over the world, including being deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan from 2006-2007. Originally from Watford, in his spare time YW Chandler enjoys solo motorbike touring across Europe and visiting his four children living all around the world.

The Tower is currently home to seven ravens; Jubilee, Harris, Poppy, Georgie, Edgar, Branwen and Rex, the newest recruit who was named in honour of HM The King’s Coronation last year.

The story goes that King Charles II was the first to insist that the ravens of the Tower be protected, inspiring the famous legend that survives to this day. It is said that the King’s astronomer John Flamsteed, who had an observatory in the White Tower, complained that the resident ravens were impeding his work and requested their removal. The King was advised that if the ravens left the Tower then the Kingdom would fall – an alarming sentiment for a recently restored monarch – and the legend has been kept alive ever since.

Yeoman Warder Chandler, said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as the new Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, after many years of caring for them as part of the ravens team. Being able to work alongside these majestic birds has always been a favourite part of my duties as a Yeoman Warder, and I feel immensely privileged to be entrusted with this iconic role. The ravens have a long association with the Tower and are immensely popular with our visitors. I’m looking forward to playing my part in continuing their legacy for many years to come.”

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