Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth of the U.K., and president of the World Wildlife Fund (yes, really!), saved the lives of a few animals today. That’s because he’s in hospital with a heart condition and wasn’t be able to join the Royal Family’s “traditional” December 26 hunting expedition.
That didn’t much of a damper on the royal hunt, however. At their country estate in Sandringham, the royals were out in full hunting mode for the “traditional” Boxing Day (day after Christmas) bird hunt – right after the Queen had been on TV giving her annual Christmas message to the British Commonwealth, invoking the name of the Almighty in a prayer for peace and an end to violence.
The royals have a long tradition of hunting. Above you see Philip at the head of a tiger he’d just killed in India on a royal tour in 1961. The queen is standing behind the tiger’s back. Between them is Prince Jagat-Singh with his foot on tiger’s head. The tiger was over eight feet long.The skin was sent to Windsor Castle as a trophy. Today, the entire species is on the edge of extinction.
And here you have Prince Harry in the camo gear joining dad Charles (behind him) and granddad Philip on a grouse shooting at another family home, Balmoral Castle in Scotland, 2006.
Harry is said to have bagged more than 30 birds on that particular outing. Asked if he thought using an SA80 assault rifle, capable of firing 650 rounds per second, gave him much of an advantage, Harry replied: “My father told me that if I didn’t have an unfair advantage, there wouldn’t be much point my being royal would there…”
And here’s Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, third son of the Queen and Prince Philip, caught on camera fighting off one of the hunting dogs with a stick on a pheasant hunt just a few weeks ago.
“He has set a truly sickening example,” said Barry Hugill, spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports. “People in blood sports tend to show a complete disregard for the welfare of animals.”
Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, added: “It is an offence to cause an animal unnecessary suffering. Hitting a dog is a pathetic, cowardly and vicious act — it would appear he has had a royal tantrum.”
We heard last week, incidentally that Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, would not be on today’s shooting spree at Sandringham. That’s because the royals are under increasing criticism for the whole barbarous “tradition”, which is conducted at taxpayers’ expense.
Here’s what The Independent had to say on the topic a few days ago:
The Duke of Edinburgh has always found it easy to reconcile his love of blood sports with his position as president of the conservation charity, the Worldwide Fund for Nature.
As, apparently, has the charity itself. “Anything that he does in his private capacity is beyond the sphere of our relationship with him,” said a spokesman, Javier Arreaza, from the headquarters in Switzerland yesterday.
Figures compiled from press reports by the anti-bloodsports lobby suggest that in Britain alone [Philip] has shot deer, rabbit, hare, wild duck, snipe, woodcock, teal, pigeon and partridge, and pheasant numbering at least 30,000.
Prince Philip especially enjoys shooting wild boar on the estates of friends in Germany. On one occasion he and Prince Charles are said to have killed 50 wild boar in a single day.
He frequently invites sporting friends to the Royal Family’s 20,000-acre Norfolk estate at Sandringham. In 1993, out shooting for up to four days a week during his seven-week stay, he hit his target of 10,000 pheasant. His shooting parties are estimated to have killed about 150,000 pheasant over the last two decades.
Although he has bowed to pressure and given up big-game hunting, Prince Philip continues to defend his love of blood sports and has frequently claimed that he is culling and not killing the animals.
The Queen often accompanies the Duke on pheasant shoots. Prince Charles and [Camilla] the Princess Royal have organized competitions in which they lead rival shooting parties.
Prince William is said to prefer shooting to any other sport, while Prince Andrew took his daughter Beatrice on a shoot when she was six.