Black swan at Bavarian palace seeks partner

The Rosenau Palace in southern Germany has published a lonely hearts ad on behalf of its resident black swan. Ground keepers believe the bird's former companion was eaten by a fox.

The department that oversees state-owned palaces, gardens and lakes in the southern state of Bavaria sent out its rather unusual appeal to the public on Thursday.

"The sex of the animal isn't important," a message on the department's website read. "Ideally it should be more than three years old, but this isn't an absolute must."

The department has been on the lookout for a match since May, when one of the two black swans that lived in the palace grounds disappeared. Palace gardeners later found bones and feathers in one of the park's bushes.

"He was probably eaten by a fox," the department concluded.

Rosenau Palace was the birthplace of Prince Albert, the husband and consort of Britain's Queen Victoria

Rosenau garden department head Steffen Schubert has been sending out enquiries every day to try and locate a candidate - without success. Finding a replacement isn't just about sparing the surviving swan from loneliness, he says.

"Swans have a special significance in the history of Rosenau Palace and park," he said.

Queen Victoria's spiritual home

Black swans were reportedly first introduced to the palace grounds by Britain's Queen Victoria as a symbol of mourning following the premature death of her husband Prince Albert, who was born at Rosenau Palace in 1819.

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Travel | 18.04.2017

Palaces in Germany

The royals visited the palace together in 1845, five years after they were married. In her memoirs, the queen wrote: "If I were not who I am, this would be my real home."

The palace, near the town of Coburg in northern Bavaria, is home to Swan Lake and Prince's Pond.

In its statement, the department said the new swan would have a good life, with a 2-hectare lake and a newly built "swan house" at its disposal. In the chillier months, the birds also have winter quarters with water access and are fed every day. The department said it would go itself to pick up the bird if a member of the public was willing to donate a swan to the grounds.

"We hope our swan does not have to be alone for too long," a spokeswoman for the palace management told German news agency DPA.

Rosenau Palace was used for various purposes during the 20th century, including as a retirement home, before it was transferred to the state of Bavaria in 1972. Since 1990, the house and its landscape gardens have been open to the public.

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Germany's most famous castle, located near the town of Füssen in Bavaria, draws around 1.5 million visitors from all over the world each year. Bavarian King Ludwig II ordered its construction in 1869, hoping to recreate a noble medieval residence. The Wartburg, a castle close to the town of Eisenach, served as a model for Ludwig's immense project.

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Germany's oldest castle, the Albrechtsburg, was erected in the 15th century in Meissen in the eastern state of Saxony. It was here that King August the Strong founded Europe's first porcelain factory in 1710. The castle, located on the River Elbe 25 kilometers from Dresden, has been turned into a museum.

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Heidelberg Castle

The ruin is the main landmark in the well-known university city of Heidelberg on the River Neckar. The luxurious residence of the electors of the Palatinate, a region in western Germany, was demolished by the soldiers of French King Louis XIV in 1693. Nowadays, it's Germany's best known castle ruin and is visited by around one million tourists per year.

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Glücksburg Castle

The moated castle, one of the most significant examples from the Renaissance, is located in the town of Glücksburg at the fjord of Flensburg at the northern tip of Germany. It was constructed on the former site of a Cistercian monastery during the 16th century; in the 19th century it became the summer residence of the King of Denmark.

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Sanssouci palace (from the French, meaning "without worries") was intended as a summer sanctuary where people could philosophize or play music. It was constructed by Prussian King Frederick II from 1745 to 1747 in Potsdam near Berlin. The palace and its surrounding park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

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Würzburg Residence

The palace in southern Germany, built for the prince-bishops of Würzburg, contains no less than 365 rooms. Its architect, Baltasar Neumann, was lauded for its magnificent staircase, which is decorated by the world's biggest ceiling fresco, painted by Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in 1752-53. The Würzburg Residence became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

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The palace in Brühl, halfway between Cologne and Bonn, is a masterpiece of Rococo architecture and one of the most significant residences of the 18th century. From 1949, Augustusburg served as a guest house of the federal government for decades. Together with the nearby Falkenlust Castle and the Gardens of Brühl, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1984.

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Schwerin Palace

Located on a small offshore island in the Lake of Schwerin, the Schwerin Palace was built on the site of an old Slavic castle, which existed there a thousand years ago. Its present shape and design were formed by the grand dukes of Mecklenburg during the 19th century. Nowadays, it is the seat of the state parliament in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

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Marienburg Castle

Queen Mary of Hanover celebrated her 39th birthday in 1857. To celebrate, her husband King George V presented her the Schulenburg Mountain and had a castle built on top. Construction took 10 years. The Castle of Marienburg is still the private property of the House of Welf and its current owner is heir to the throne, Ernst August of Hanover.

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Moyland Castle

The moated Moyland Castle (Dutch for "beautiful country") is located near the town of Kleve in western Germany.The former medieval castle was transformed into a Baroque castle during the 17th century, and later modified in New Gothic style. It now houses a collection of modern art with many works by controversial artist Joseph Beuys.

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