Kate Middleton once helped buy 1,000 bees for her brother James’ birthday

In 2011, James Middleton received an unusual gift from his family for his 24th birthday: a “large buzzing box” of bees.

In an essay he penned for the Daily Mail about his love for bees, James explained that it was this gift that helped him turn his beekeeping dreams into a reality.

“I’d always harboured a longing to keep bees, but it wasn’t until I turned 24 in 2011 that the wish became reality,” he wrote. “Then, my family — mum, dad and my sisters Catherine and Pippa — clubbed together to buy what for me was the most fantastic birthday gift imaginable.”

When James opened his buzzing box, he learned that there were 1,000 Buckfast bees inside, the beginning of his colony.

Nearly a decade has passed since that fateful gift, and today James has almost half a million bees at the Middleton family home in Berkshire.

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Many of you know I am passionate about dogs 🐾 , but not many know I am almost as passionate about bees 🐝 . I have ten hives at Bucklebury & I’m fascinated by the little creatures. From their waggle dance to the queen laying her own body weight in eggs a day… there‘s a lot to be said about these humble little creatures. In a worker bees life she will produce just 1/10th of a teaspoon of honey- think of how many bees are needed for one jar 🍯 . But that’s not it. Bee keeping to me is a meditation 🧘‍♂️ it’s a chance to escape my mind and be so consumed by something that hours can pass by without knowing it. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help with stress, anxiety, depression and doesn’t just need to be practiced sitting down! 🧘‍♂️ 🏃‍♂️ 🚶‍♂️ . Lastly honey. Honey is one of natures finest medicines. From antibacterial properties, aiding digestion, hay fever, colds, energy and even as cure for sleeping disorders the list goes on. I have a teaspoon of honey every day and couldn’t recommend it more 🍯 . So as this little homage to the honest little honey be ends remember raw local honey is best & yes I do get stung all the time but its worth it! 🐝 ❤️ . #beekeeping #rawhoney #bees #savethebees #beesofinstagram #honeyisthebestmedicine #wildflowerhoney #meditation #activemeditation #mentalhealth #mindfulness #mentalhealthawareness

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“I love spending time with my bees, checking, monitoring, treating them and collecting their honey: it is soothing toil; a balm for troubled minds,” James wrote. He uses beekeeping — which he considers “an active form of meditation” — to cope with his clinical depression, which he was diagnosed with in 2016.

James isn’t the only famous person who has taken up apiculture as a hobby. Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and David Beckham are just some of the many A-listers who dabble in the eco-friendly activity.

Though James admits that there are economic barriers to entry when it comes to beekeeping — a new hive can cost as much as £500 ($630) — he adds there are “kit versions and cheaper [hives] on internet auction sites” for people whose siblings aren’t literal royalty.

Alternatively, you could always wait for your birthday and hope that your family gifts you a small 1,000-bee starter kit — but until then, you’ll just have to wait and see what all the buzz is about.

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