Publishedduration1 hour agoshareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightHistoric Royal Palacesimage captionMerlina at the Tower of London

The Tower of London's "queen" raven is missing and feared dead, according to staff at the fortress.

Merlina, who joined the flock in 2007, has not been seen for several weeks.

The Tower usually has six ravens at any time and, according to legend, if they ever leave then both the fortress and the kingdom will fall. There are currently seven in residence.

A spokesman said Merlina's "continued absence indicates to us that she may have sadly passed away".

He added: "Merlina was our undisputed ruler of the roost, queen of the Tower ravens.

"She will be greatly missed by her fellow ravens, the ravenmaster, and all of us in the Tower community."