Legend states that if the birds leave the Tower of London, the kingdom will fall

By Stephanie Petit
May 04, 2021 12:13 PM
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Raven cages to house the iconic birds are beside White Tower at the Tower of London
Tower of London
| Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Tower of London has welcomed two more of its famous guardians — but they need help choosing a name for one baby raven.

A pair of baby ravens born in March during lockdown are the newest residents at the Tower of London. While the male bird has been named Edgar, in tribute to poet Edgar Allan Poe, the historic site is asking for the public's help in naming the female raven.

Until May 18, people can vote for their favorite moniker from a shortlist created by Ravenmaster Chris Skaife. All of the five name options — Matilda, Branwen, Brontë, Winifred and Florence — are drawn from history, mythology and famous tales from the Tower's past.

Brontë is after the sisters who authored some of Britain's classic novels, including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, while Florence is after pioneering British nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale.

Matilda comes from fearsome medieval monarch Empress Matilda, who battled her cousin Stephen of Blois over her claim to the English throne in the 1130s and 1140s. Branwen comes from Celtic mythology, translating to "Blessed Raven," while Wififred is after Winifred Maxwell, Countess of Nithsdale, remembered for plotting her husband Lord Nithsdale's incredible escape from the Tower in 1716 disguised as a woman.

The winning name will be announced on May 19, the same day that the Tower of London reopens to the public for the first time in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tower of London
Ravens of the Tower of London
| Credit: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

The Tower of London's legend of the ravens says that if the birds leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall. There must be a minimum of six ravens at the Tower at all times — and with the two new chicks, the total number of resident birds is now nine!

Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster Chris Skaife poses with a raven at the Tower of London
Chris Skaife
| Credit: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Skaife is the Tower's current Ravenmaster, looking after the birds.

"There is a legend that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, the tower will crumble into dust and great harm will befall the kingdom," Skaife previously told PEOPLE. "So I have the safety of the nation on my shoulders!"

Tower of London
Tower of London
| Credit: Jo Hale/Getty Images

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The birds, he said, have boisterous personalities: "Croaking loudly at visitors, posing for selfies, rifling through your bag for a box of Pringles. Or, like Merlina, laying on her back on Tower Green, with her legs in the air, playing dead to the shock of those who walk by."