So, the move to California for our errant honeybee Harry is not going so well. Adjusting to life outside of the Royal Hive has taken its toll. Not content with being a spare to the other males, he is droning on about not getting enough attention or support for his life outside the hive. Unable to make his own honey he has given to selling his life story instead. He lifts the lid on life in the Hive, exposes all the family secrets and tells of his fights with the firstborn drone. He even claims to killing 25 Asian hornets, though that figure has been disputed as there have only been 23 reported sightings in the country since 2016. And we hear of his anger at the muted response to him falling love with a solitary bee and their planned life together as “world-dominating humanitarian superstars powered by her Hollywood glamour and his royal stature”*.
As for Meghan, she has been cutting in her remarks about the Royal Hive, not accepting that marrying into the lifestyle of another species was always going to be difficult. She went on television to regale tales of having to bow to the Queen Bee, of the worker bees buzzing around her making her cry, and revealing overheard conversations about speciesism and what her larvae would look like.
The other insects are unsympathetic. They are tired of the bees always hogging the limelight when it comes to saving the world through pollination; that publicity around the countless bee-related projects rarely mentions all the positive benefits of an inclusive, well-rounded insect community. Their demands for Levelling Up, or to at least be included in the literature and on posters, and the replacement of “bee” for “insect” are growing louder.
And what now for our two troubled bees? More books? Spare us! At the very most they will be remembered in history as a small blip in the centuries-old tradition of a bee hive. The late Queen Bee is dead. How the new King is going to rule over a matriarchal society is anyone’s guess, especially as support for hives has begun to wan.
* Tina Brown. The Observer, 17 January 2023