There are a lot of firsts in the life of a small child, but we’re guessing ‘First Grouse Shoot’ probably isn’t one your kiddo’s navigated at preschool age …
Grouse and grannies
There’s a long tradition of shooting and hunting in the royal family so it comes as no surprise that young George is being familiarised with how things work.
What is a surprise for many is that he’s been taken on a shoot at such a tender age AND that – given William’s championing of animal conservation – the family are continuing to embrace this tradition.
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Qualche giorno fa La Regina Elisabetta alla guida della sua Range insieme a Carole Middleton a Balmoral ??? Queen Elizabeth driving her Range with Carole Middleton to Balmoral a few days ago ??? @theroyalfamily @rangeroverofficial #quenelizabeth#thequeen#carolemiddleton#windsor#britishroyalfamily#middletonfamily#rangerover#britishroyals#britishroyalty#royal#royals#royalty#balmoralcastle
“The Queen, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William have taken Prince George to his first grouse shoot – a major milestone for the young prince,” Express reported yesterday, explaining that the summer holidays are drawing to a close for the little prince and that the family are squeezing the last days of family time out of the hols heading off to “shoot down the birds in the hills, in the prince’s first ever experience watching his older relatives grouse shooting.”
After the Balmoral shoot, George enjoyed lunch with great-granny the Queen, grandpa Prince Charle and a bunch of other royals – including some favourite cousins (like Savannah Phillips!)
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“Sick to teach killing is okay”
Sounds like a right royal shoot-y shindig, but many were not having it, and took to Twitter to make their feelings heard. Granted some pointed out that the grouse had been bred to be shot, but others were horrorstruck and couldn’t fathom a small boy being exposed to the killing of little birds.
“Prince William, in October of last year, made a speech warning us that ‘global wildlife populations have halved in his lifetime.’ Today, we learn he took his son, Prince George, on his first grouse shoot,” one Twitter user posted.
“I just saw that Prince George has been taken to his first grouse shoot, all in the name of ‘Sport’. Such a shame that another innocent child will grow up to believe that killing animals for fun will be the normal thing to do,” another wrote.
Someone else noted it was “awful”, saying, “thought she might have a heart to shield him and teach photography instead.
“The tradition is fine,” another tweeter suggested, “but can we replace the living with clay targets. We can’t keep raising our future ‘rulers’ to watch animal abuse. There are great alternatives. In other opinions, I seriously envy the prince for his ballet classes. Go Prince George.”
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#new The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge accompanied the Queen to a church service at Balmoral. In the last picture, Kate is driving Zara Phillips, George and Savannah to go Grouse shooting!! #katemiddleton #princewilliam #princegeorge #queen #thecambridges #dukeofcambridge #duchessofcambridge #dukeandduchessofcambridge #theroyals #britishroyals #kensingtonpalace #kensingtonroyal #balmoralcastle #royaldrought #kateandwilliam
But others pointed out that odds-on many of the people horrified at George being present on the shoot probably ate meat or poultry, and that it may have been farmed and killed in completely unethical ways.
“So Prince George has been taken to a Grouse shoot and people are outraged. Odds on many of the same folk eat meat. Far better to kill and eat a bird raised in the wild, shot with no knowledge of what’s coming than eat a factory farmed chicken/pig. Misplaced outrage in my opinion.”
We’re guessing the Royals will turn a blind eye (and several ears) to this criticism, continuing to involve their children in these kinds of shooting and hunting expeditions.