The Duchess of Cornwall has celebrated World Bee Day by becoming president of the charity Bees for Development which promotes beekeeping as a way to combat poverty.
Camilla, who is a keen beekeeper and has a series of hives in her garden in Wiltshire, said funds raised from the sale of her honey crop this year would go to the organisation.
In a video message, she described how bees were “vital to the natural world”, but could also be used to help provide a much-needed income for people living in some of the poorest countries.
The duchess, wishing people a “very Happy World Bee Day”, said: “Today, on World Bee Day, it is a huge pleasure to speak to you as the first president of Bees for Development.
“As we all know, bees are vital to the natural world and an essential part of our fragile ecology. Keeping bees and harvesting honey is an old-age tradition.
“But this remarkable charity has found a way to use the busy bee to help alleviate poverty and encourage biodiversity.”
She added: “It works to train and educate people in the simple methods needed to keep bees, often at little or no cost.”
“This in turn provides a much-needed income to people living in some of the poorest and most isolated communities in the world. And it means that there are healthy hives of bees working to pollinate crops.”
Camilla began keeping bees at her private home Raymill in 2010, with a collection of nine hives.
Her honey is now sold each year for charity by Fortnum & Mason.
The duchess added: “I have a personal reason for supporting this charity, as I keep bees myself.
“Every year the honey from my hives is harvested and sold for charity, and I am delighted that this year’s honey crop will help Bees for Development continue their very important work.
“May I wish you all a very Happy World Bee Day.”
Bees for Development provides free information and support to beekeepers in more than 130 developing nations, and works directly with community projects in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Somaliland, Uganda and Zambia.
It also champions the important role honey bees and other pollinators play in the UK.
The Prince of Wales also keeps bees and hives at Highgrove in Gloucestershire, and at Birkhall where he and the duchess have been staying in lockdown.