The Tower of London’s ‘Queen’ Raven, Merlina, is missing and feared dead, her keeper has revealed.

Six remain, however, warding off the prophecy that when the ravens leave the Tower of London, the country will fall.

Merlina, a stunning bird, was beloved by visitors as she had a big personality and enjoyed being fed Pringles.

The Ravenmaster, Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife, was very taken with her, often showing off her beauty in pictures on social media. He could also often be seen sharing a bench with the inquisitive bird on her lunch break.

Now, however, the Tower of London has officially declared that the raven is most likely deceased.

Merlina is in fine pose mode today. pic.twitter.com/bS3h9w3i21

— Ravenmaster (@ravenmaster1) November 22, 2018

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."

Tower staff say they have no plans yet to replace the much-loved bird.

Yeoman Warder Skaife said that he would be taking some time to reflect on her life.

"I know so many of you lovely folk will be saddened by this news," he said in a social media statement.

"None more than me. Please excuse my absence for a few days."

Charles II is believed to have been the first monarch to officially decree that the birds must be kept at the Tower at all times.

When numbers fell to just a single raven guard, Winston Churchill ordered that the flock — known as an "unkindness" — was increased to at least six.

There is currently a breeding programme taking place in a Suffolk pub so there are enough trained ravens to replenish the group.