Prince's dove Divinity dies at 28

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Prince's dove Divinity.
Prince's dove Divinity. (Paisley Park)
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Divinity, the last surviving dove owned by Prince during his lifetime, has died at age 28. "She was one of the enduring links to Prince for thousands of fans," Paisley Park executive director Alan Seiffert said in a statement. "She will be missed."

Andrea Swensson joined Jill Riley on The Current's Morning Show to discuss the life and legacy of Divinity.

Jill Riley: Well, I heard the news yesterday, oh boy, and no joke, the first person I thought of was Local Show host Andrea Swensson and I thought maybe I need to send Andrea a text. I'll talk to her tomorrow morning. But the news came down yesterday that one of Prince's doves, Divinity, has passed away, but Divinity lived a pretty long life for a dove. 28 years old. Good morning, Andrea.

Andrea Swensson: Good morning, Jill. My condolences.

Yes, my condolences. I'm so sorry for your loss. But yeah, I mean, there's such a long storied history there with the late Prince and how he kept doves as pets at Paisley Park.

There is, and I've been lucky to meet the doves and see the doves over the years visiting Paisley Park. They are kept in the atrium of the building, which is this beautiful big open atrium, kind of right after you enter through the lobby into Paisley Park, if you've ever taken one of the tours there, and there's a balcony that wraps around it, and the doves are kept on one of the balconies and it used to sit right outside the wardrobe department. So I've actually talked to people that used to work at Paisley Park, where they'd say, yeah, we'd be sitting at our sewing machines and doing measurements and just listening to these doves coo all day long. It was just part of the atmosphere of being at Paisley Park.

So Prince kept two doves, Majesty and Divinity. Now Majesty passed away a couple years ago, right?

That's right. Majesty was the male in the duo and he passed away in January of 2017, which was just under a year after Prince passed away. And I don't know if you remember, Jill, right after Prince died, his sister Tyka gave an interview and said that, actually both Majesty and Divinity stopped cooing after he had passed away, so it was, like, eerily silent in Paisley Park. And then it wasn't until someone started playing his music that they started cooing again and singing again.

I totally forgot about that until you mentioned it right now. And now that story is, like, flooding back. From what I've heard, that can be a common thing with animals, especially animals that are kept as pets, when their owner is gone. Suddenly they fall silent.

Yeah, I know, it's just so sad. And also just speaks to, you know, how intimate of a relationship they must have had with Prince. I mean, he often worked alone in that giant building. And it would just be him and the doves.

Yeah. And so he and I mean, Divinity being 28, those doves were at Paisley Park kind of from the beginning.

Yeah, it's funny, you know, there's been some theories. I've talked to some researchers around this and there's definitely been more than one pair of doves in Prince's lifetime. It's kind of like, you know, Sparky the seal at Como Zoo. Like, you're seeing Sparky, but you don't know which Sparky necessarily. So I think there might have been, you know, a series of doves over the years that he kept. But this is really remarkable to learn that Divinity was 28. That is just such a huge part of Prince's life and career that this bird would have witnessed.

Yeah. And so the doves, they've even made it into Prince's music. I know that the song Arboretum has almost, like, some psychedelic cooing.

That whole album actually was recorded in the atrium of Paisley Park. So that's why you hear the doves.

Well, Prince, the late Prince, one of his doves, Divinity, has died at 28. And again, I'm no expert on doves or their life expectancy. But I gotta think, 28 it's pretty unusual, like the equivalent of a human being living past 100.

Well, you know, there's a special energy at Paisley Park. So it really doesn't surprise me that animals could live much longer than expected in that space.

Right. Well, thank you, Andrea, for checking in. Again, my condolences. Divinity. And now kind of the secret of, you know, how many doves have really made it through Paisley Park in the atrium. And I just wonder if, like, if a dove ever passed away, you know, was it like goldfish, you know, like, "Ah, we gotta replace these goldfish. I gotta replace this dove before Prince comes back from L.A." I just had this really dark thought about it. But it's, you know, it's fun to kind of talk about those memories. And, you know, the doves having such a long legacy at Paisley Park. And that's kind of a big part of the tour as well, when you go to Paisley Park.

It totally is. And I can confirm because I actually got to visit Paisley Park when it was closed during the pandemic in May — we were making one of our Prince podcasts about that era of the song we just heard — and I got to see Divinity. And I also got to see the two new doves that were understudies at that point and they will now be taking the starring role and the Paisley Park social media account described them as a new generation of doves for Paisley Park.


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