The traditional Swan Upping came to Buckinghamshire along the River Thames – the first one during King Charles’s reign.

For the first time ever, the King’s Swan Marker David Barber and his team wore the new updated uniforms with his CIIIR cypher as they arrived from Cookham to Marlow on July 18.

The annual swan census dating back to the 12th century has now evolved into a conservation project.

Any unmarked mute swans swimming in open waters belong to the King, but the right is mainly exercised in River Thames between Eton and Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

David told the Free Press after arriving to Marlow at The Compleate Angler: “Swan Upping dates right back to the 12th century, when swans were eaten in those days. They were an important food served at banquets and feast.

“Of course, Swan Upping today is all about conservation and education.”

David became the Swan Marker 31 years ago after his name was put forward by his predecessor. They had moved swans at Cookham during the Royal Regatta and gone on swan rescues. 

After spotting a family of swans, the team in six traditional rowing skiffs flying Charles’s flags form a large circle around them, lift them out and take them ashore.

The cygnets are then weighed, measured and checked for any injuries.

This year, six cygnets were marked between Cookham and Marlow. 

“We have a lot of fishing tackle injuries. And if it’s a serious one they’d go to one of the rescue organisations down in Eton. They have vets on hand to deal with it all the time,” David explained.

The past year had also been challenging for the swans because of the spread of bird flu, rates of which have now reportedly fallen.

During the five days of marking, the Swan Marker and his Swan Uppers are joined by Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies, who historically own swans on River Thames alongside the King.