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The British royal family used to be known for its stoic resolve and toughness. Queen Elizabeth was a mechanic and overhauled truck engines for the army during World War II. And when it was suggested that the princesses leave London because of Nazi bombing, the current queen’s mother famously said, “They are not leaving without me, I’m not leaving without The King, and The King is not leaving.” So you wouldn’t think a little criticism could cause them to alter a generations-old tradition. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong…

Prince William’s new bride, Kate Middleton, is known as a crack shot and enjoys wingshooting. Only now that she’s officially a member of the royal family, that’s not happening any more according to, at least not this upcoming Boxing Day:

The royals are worried about the backlash from animal rights activist groups if pictures of Kate with a gun or shooting at a pheasant are published. While they’ve been under scrutiny in the past for this blood sport tradition, Kate’s popularity is bound to take the media coverage of the pheasant shoot over the top.

German bombs? You must be joking. Accusations of insensitivity? Now that’s completely out of the question.

It’s hard to imagine that the princess wouldn’t win more approval from the British public by telling PETA’s prigs to sod off. But maybe all that talk about ‘the place where England used to be’ really is true.

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  1. Maybe the future Queen has finally decided it’s a bloody awful sport. You seem to be reading an awful lot into her motives. I thought only I was allowed to do that.

    • I’m actually inclined to agree with mikeb here.

      I don’t know the details in this particular case- I mean, if they keep the birds caged until it’s time to shoot ’em, and then don’t eat them, then yeah, it’s an awful sport.

      If you’re gonna eat meat anyway, I can’t think of a more humane way of doing it than by shooting a wild animal. But somehow, I can’t see anyone in the royal family getting all dolled up in shooting gear if there weren’t a lackey somewhere behind the scenes to make sure there’s something to shoot at.

      • The game laws in the UK differ markedly from the USA.
        First off, the game (in this instance, Pheasants etc.) are the property of the Landowner. This applies to both wild game and game raised for shooting.
        The biggest mortality to game birds is actually the weather. Spring can be cold and wet and mortality can be as high as 90 to 95% on a bad year.
        If the land owner wants to guarantee game for the autumn, he can buy game eggs and hatch them , raising the chicks until they are big and strong enough to survive a cold snap. This is done initially in a barn. The chicks are hardened off in pens in the woods so that they become acclimatised to the outdoors and are fed to ensure that they don’t starve.
        In late spring/early summer, they are released fully into the wild to take their chances.
        The pheasant season stretches from 1st October to 1st February. The pheasants can be walked up (termed rough shooting) or driven by beaters over the guns. The shots are not easy as they are by now truly wild birds and by the time they are in range, are high, traveling fast and hard to hit.
        NR might consider the gamekeepers and beaters to be “lackeys” but it is a job and a well paid job too – plus everyone concerned gets a brace of pheasants to take home … hardly the groveling lackeys NR imagines.

  2. Hopefully Kate can show the same good trigger discipline as in the first picture, if she is confronted by animal rights critics.

  3. “But maybe all that talk about ‘the place where England used to be’ really is true.”

    I usually refer to it as The country formerly known as Great Britain.

  4. Maybe she’s exhibiting egalitarianism. After all, no one else in the UK is allowed to shoot or own guns.

      • “I don’t know what that rifle is…” Probably because it is a shotgun, since she is wingshooting. (That refers to shooting birds ‘on the wing’, i.e., flying.)

        And yes, it probably did cost a pretty pence. So? It’s her pence.

      • *Smacks Forehead* If you think bird hunting with a rifle is a good idea, then I’m very glad you no longer own guns. But on the other hand, I think you have proven your own point that there are indeed individuals out there that definitely should not have guns (you being exhibit A).

        • Not just a rifle, but a 16 bore rifle. See, this is why you should learn about firearms, Mike. You’ll be one step closer to being able to hold an intelligent discussion on the subject.

          Any guesses as to the make of that boxlock? I’m going with Holland & Holland.

  5. In order to understand what the Brits are, we need to recognize what they were. For most of ten centuries, England’s greatest export was war. They killed everybody from Afghans to Zulus in order to conquer the world for King and Country, and they did so with their Brown Besses, Lee-Enfields and everything in between. So I don’t regard British gun control as something that endangers Brits. I think of it as something that protects the rest of the world.

    • You make a sound point, but the same would apply to the U.S., the biggest bully ever to swagger about the Earth. It is true that the powers that be in GB have an interest in a disarmed populace, just like the U.S. They’ve had more than a little trouble with their non-WASP rabble over the centuries.

  6. I think the interpretation given in this article is possibly off-base: The Boxing Day shoot traditionally sees the men shooting and the royal wives looking on. Kate hasn’t given up shooting. For example, she recently took rifle-shooting instruction. Private pheasant shoots are fine and as you noted, she has a reputation as a decent gun. And to Blammo I say “I claim my clay rights. I will oppose their monopolization by the royals vociferously.”

  7. I believe that there are many englishmen that would be entranced with a photograph of Kate in the field, sporting a pair of tan stretch riding pants with fitted vest, leaning forward into her shouldered shotgun. Her number of defenders would multiply and she would be defended mightly in pubs accross the land.

  8. The birds are a smoke-screen. The real issue for the Royals and the Euro-Socialists in control of the once-Great Britian is that Kate is a commoner and a good looking female. Photos of her shooting will awaken the unwashed masses to gun ownership and sport.

    Scratch any limey and you’ll find one that wants to shoot guns. The Euro-Socialists haven’t been able to totally destroy the dream of gun rights in the UK.

    • The fault in your logic is that the UK has the strictest laws concerning firearms in the old EU-15. The more socialist countries in Scandinavia (Sweden, Finland) and also traditionally social-democratic Austria all have quite lax gun laws (for europe) with Austria being very free indeed.

      I think this is rather a case of the British being hoplophobes, we Swedes (the filthy reds that we are) look at them and shake our heads no matter our sociopolitical opinion. We then proceed to go back to our hunting, IPSC, military service or submachinegun-matches.

      • Thanks for pointing out that the link between social democratic politics and gun confiscation is tenuous at best.

        GB is becoming less socialistic as their very limited gun rights shrink even further.

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