Prince William calls for an end to the illegal killing of endangered species while family members enjoy a long tradition of hunting wild animals.
The Duchess of York, the Queen Mother and her husband, King George VI, George V, the queen’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, the queen’s husband, Prince Charles and Prince Harry are just a few of the British royals who have enjoyed the spoils of hunting during the past 150 years, according to reports.
While many history books illustrate the royals enjoying the practice of hunting wild animals in exotic destinations, Prince William has taken the stand of campaigning to save endangered species.
Writing to her big-game hunting enthusiast father-in-law, George V, who killed 21 tigers on a trip to India in 1911, the future Queen Mother, The Duchess of York, explained how hunting made her bloodthirsty, despite the fact that killing a rhinoceros almost broke her heart.
“I took to shooting with a rifle, which I hope you won’t dislike me for, but really there was nothing else to do, and I enjoyed it so much, and became very bloodthirsty,” she wrote. “First of all, I shot birds as big as grouse for the pot, and then I shot buck, and by great flukes managed to kill and not wound, and then I shot a rhinoceros, which nearly broke my heart.”
Now, however, photos of the macabre collection of stuffed animals and mounted heads have come to light. The photos have, for generations, been kept at the intimate museum at Sandringham, the queen’s Norfolk home. Some of the animals include two rare rhinos, a leopard, an Indian tiger, two stuffed lions and the tusks of an elephant. In total, there are 62 trophies on display at Sandringham’s museum, which is open to the public when the royals are not present.
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Of course, at the time, there was nothing unusual about hunting wild animals for extended time periods in warmer climates during the British winters. While Prince William is one member of the royal family who is taking a stand against illegal killing, it emerged in February that he had flown off to shoot deer and wild boar in Spain a few days before taking part in a campaign that highlighted the illegal poaching of wildlife. His brother, Prince Harry, who supports Prince William’s stand, was also photographed alongside a one-ton water buffalo he had taken down while in Africa 10 years ago.
With the existence of the rhino, tiger and elephant in grave danger, the younger royals of today have a difficult balancing act to maintain. After all, they must make sure they combine their love of hunting and wildlife preservation campaigns to ensure that the existence of endangered species is not put further into question.