Grouse-shooting royals ridiculed in the news

Some members of the royal family were out grouse-shooting near Balmoral last week and as ever this led to wide media coverage, some of it typically sycophantic but much of it unfavourable.

Here are some headlines:

By far the most entertaining piece was written by Catherine Bennett in the Guardian yesterday. It’s a masterclass in ridicule.

Excerpts include:

‘…….the royal family has been strikingly successful over generations in, using child-rearing methods that might strike even some religious and political fanatics as on the extreme side, ensuring the continuation of stand-out dynastic traits, from equestrianism to curtseying, stalking, a passion for the military and, when in Africa, charismatic megafauna‘.


Whether her enthusiastic participation in a similar, though possibly bloodier, programme adds to Kate Middleton’s qualifications as a national child-rearing expert is a question for favoured daycare centres. No doubt some mothers, especially those from keen shooting families, will treasure hints from this advocate of the “good enough royal” approach, on getting children outdoors and counting dead birds before their young minds can be turned by Chris Packham‘.

You can read the full article here

19 thoughts on “Grouse-shooting royals ridiculed in the news”

  1. A brilliant piece of Journalism by Catherine Bennett. DGS is an unacceptable hangover from the Victorian era, but then so are the bloody handed Windsor family.
    I in pasted times had two conversations with head grouse keepers about shooting with Charles. One enthusiastically told me of shooting with Charles and the late Duke of Westminster Gerald Grosvenor. ” they always call me John” he enthused. The conversation came to an abrupt end when I responded ” What did you call them Gerry and Charlie?” The other keeper in contrast bemoaned the presence of Charles and Andrew because Charles ( with security minion) always insisted on walking to the butts between drives thus flushing half of the birds.
    Frankly I’ve no time for DGS or the Royals both should be confined to history, even so a grouse shoot or any other shoot is no place for a seven year old.

      1. Anand he was John Herd then head keeper on Abbeystead Estate, he has been gone sometime. He was mortified that I wasn’t a forelock tugging enthusiast and that I had so little respect for the titles of either his boss or Jugears..

        1. I got my first inklings of what a load of bull the shooting world is when I used to watch a big-name big-reputation keeper in his mid 40’s reduced to scurrying about “Yes, Sir- ing” on shooting days, and on one occasion scouring the ground for some wet moss to wipe the sheep shit off his bosses wellies!

  2. Technically, since ‘yesterday’ was Sunday, it was in ‘The Observer’. Be that as it may, we’ve certainly come a long way from the press unquestioningly ‘celebrating’ the (in)Glorious Twelfth as they did not so many years ago.

  3. I saw the brilliant article by Catherine Bennett in the Observer yesterday. The angle that she took was wonderful. Do you really want to teach your children how to kill living things? Will this indeed affect their view of the living world in their future adult lives. What an irony that William supports the protection of elephants, whilst ‘blasting’ other living creatures out of the sky. How does he square this ethically? I really hope that George has a different view to his parents and sees the protection of all wildlife as being a critical example for the royals. Here’s hoping.

    1. Whilst I concur with Robert Bonner’s sentiments September 7, 2020 at 11:37 am, I don’t know whether George has been encouraged to regard grouse as British wildlife. Neither do I know that royalty ever truly become adults.

  4. I had read Catherine Bennett’s article before receiving this RPUK blog and thought it very good. I am not a fan of the Royals for a number of reasons and I do not like their hypocrisy. On the one hand the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge proudly show off on their website, ‘The Royal Foundation’, the work they are involved with regarding conservation and animal protection and then on the other hand they don’t mind blasting Red Grouse out of the sky. They make me sick. I would think more of them if they came out and said that they were against grouse shooting.

    1. They’ll not do that for fear of being seen as traitors by all their pals, most of whom would and should be competing in that well known competition inaugurated by Monty Python ” Upper class Twit of the year.” I’d like to be shot of the lot of them almost as much as I want to be shot of DGS, pity they haven’t all gone to live in California.

  5. I don’t think this negative coverage will overly bother the Royals, it is easy to say this was a family day on the family Estate, with the family…albeit doing an activity that some dislike. What would be interesting is to see (and this would make them squirm) an official list in the public domain of all the other places the top Royals shoot at as guests, and the type of people they share drinks with and rub shoulders with with while doing so. Prince Andrew is not the only one to keep bad company, by a long way.

  6. I’m not that bothered if they want to shoot grouse.

    It’s when they start shooting hen harriers that I object.

    Maybe someone should ask them explicity what they think about people who shoot hen harriers.

    xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

    1. The trouble with this Dave is that to take part in dgs they are also complicit in the killing of all the other wildlife that are perceived to have an effect on grouse numbers, not to mention the spreading of medicated grit and poisonous lead shot around the countryside.

  7. They are a dysfunctional, parasitical family. Mrs Windsor has taken much care over the years to prevent photographs being taken of their nasty habit of using live targets.

  8. Bit off topic but I once tried to get, not now so young, Prince William of Wherever interested in the situation of families of rangers in Africa that have died in gun battles with battle hardened ivory poachers linked to Al Shabaab, the Hutu militias, the Janjaweed of Sudan (that once camel trekked a 1000 mile for an elephant killing spree in the forests of West Africa)……..literally hundreds of NP rangers have died, ((in Kenya many are not being paid at the moment and the entire National Park system across Africa is under threat with tourist revenue collapse)); anyway he declined………The Royal interest in African mega fauna does not extend to the families of the men and women (The Mambas) that give their lives…..the interest is in the elephants etc etc

  9. This story would appear to indicate that for all the noise coming from the younger generation of the royal family that they want to appear to be more in touch with current public sentiment, the reality is that they are just as divorced from the public mood as ever.

    So whilst the rest of society attempts to try and educate the young in understanding concepts like climate change, plastic waste, a respect for natural environment and compassion for wildlife.

    It would appear, Prince George is already starting his education in the warped conservation principles of shooting wildlife for fun, and the misguided belief that wild animals have no intrinsic value other than whatever entertainment value they can provide to humans.


    I am sure any 7 year old would get far more pleasure from the great out doors, if they went wild camping, mountain biking or just on an adventure with dad to watch wildlife in its natural environment??

    Hopefully, when Prince George reaches the “questioning years” of a teenager, he will turn round and say -“Dad, why is it you want to save elephants in Africa, but you don’t care about birds of prey in Britain?”

    1. Thank you for your comment; my feeling exactly. Let’s hope that Prince George has a better ethical understanding of the rights of animals as living creatures than his parents.

  10. If I might make so bold as to suggest some books for their stockings this Christmas:

    ‘The Moral Status of Animals’ By Stephen R L Clark
    In Defense of Animals’ Ed. Peter Singer
    ‘Environmental Philosophy’ Ed. Robert Elliot and Arran Gare

    I know these books are not about Geography or Art but they maybe good reading before the annual Boxing Day shoot.

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