Prince Charles & Prince Edward are in the middle of major gun/hunting drama

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There was a lot of royal gun/hunting drama in the past week and surprisingly enough, none of it had anything to do with Prince William and Jecca Craig. But it does involve William at the periphery. William launched his pro-conservation, anti-poaching campaign this year, with the help of his father, Prince Charles. Charles has always been eco-friendly and down with all things plants and animals. Charles hadn’t even been photographed on a hunt in years… but that all changed a few days ago, when UK papers published photos of him with a rifle in his hand – go here to see. Now animal rights groups and environmental groups are all up in arms. It’s a press story too, because Charles tried to get the photo publication quashed.

Meanwhile, there’s yet another royal-gun controversy. Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, was photographed on a hunt at the Queen’s Sandringham estate with his 6-year-old son James. The problem? Edward seemed to throw caution to the wind and aim at a bird (?) which was very, very close to James. Like, it looks like Edward is almost aiming his gun at his son. You can see the photos here.

The extraordinary image shows the Earl of Wessex sighting the powerful double-barrelled shotgun just over six-year-old James, Viscount Severn, who is standing in front of him. The picture, taken yesterday on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, appears to show the 50-year-old royal breaking the cardinal rule of shooting, to never point a gun in an unsafe direction.

Last night one of the world’s leading firearms experts condemned Edward’s behaviour as “shocking” and “terrible”. Former policeman and safety campaigner Ronald Scott, who has spent the past 50 years investigating shooting incidents, said: “I cannot believe what I am seeing here. This is grossly negligent and totally reckless behaviour. The young lad appears to be almost directly in front of his father. This is a primary violation of the most important rule of safety – never point your gun in an unsafe direction or in a direction near another person, even if it is unloaded. This is horrendous. It is terrible conduct, truly shocking.”

The photographs show Edward passing the lead of their black Labrador to James before aiming at a bird flying above them.

“What happens if he is about to pull the trigger and suddenly the son moves?” said Mr Scott, a former commander of the Massachusetts State Police’s ballistics section and a member of the Firearms Review Board for evaluating shooting incidents involving officers.

“In this picture here he should never have been taking a shot,” added Mr Scott. “He should have let the pheasant go. It is totally unsafe. I must say I am very surprised.”

Edward was joined on the shoot by his wife Sophie, 49, and their 11-year-old daughter Lady Louise Windsor.

Animal welfare campaigners condemned the couple for introducing their children to blood sports at such a young age. Joe Duckworth of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “The Royal Family are role models and it is saddening and irresponsible to see them desensitising their children at such a young age to firearms and shooting animals for sport.”

A spokesman for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) added: “Sophie and Edward’s parenting skills have to be called into question, as they’ve failed to convey the most basic lesson of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

On Friday, Clarence House tried to block photographs of Prince Charles shooting at Sandringham with eight friends. It came in the week that the Duke of Cambridge highlighted the plight of endangered species shot by poachers in Africa.

[From Express]

If you’re anything like me, you’re kind of idly wondering if all of this was a series of PR disasters orchestrated by some shadowy PR person, perhaps the newly-hired American media manager in Prince William’s press office. Think about it – William was being criticized for taking on an anti-poaching campaign while still enjoying a good hunt. So William’s people throw Prince Charles under the bus. And Prince Charles then throws his little brother under the bus. A chain reaction of royal shenanigans.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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43 Responses to “Prince Charles & Prince Edward are in the middle of major gun/hunting drama”

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  1. Birdix says:

    Or a shadowy NRA PR flack, trying to prove that the US doesn’t have the market covered on gun stupidity?

    • MoxyLady007 says:

      YES. For every soldier we have lost in Iraq, we have also lost 13 children to gun violence. That’s our ratio. But yes, by all means, let’s try to get the American public to believe that these senseless and completely preventable tragedies happen everywhere.

  2. Tippy says:

    Since 1970, the overall average population of wildlife including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians has decreased by 53%.

    • scout says:

      Sad, isn’t it? Some still wearing real Fur and animal skins for vanity and some hunt them down for fun. Hate them all!

      • Tippy says:

        Probably has more to do with man’s encroachment on the habitat of wildlife and pollution.

      • Wren33 says:

        Very sad, but very little to do with hunting, particularly in the US and Europe. Overfishing more so. In the US I think bison and passenger pigeons were hunted into extinction.

    • India Andrews says:

      Hunting in the USA is regulated by the state departments of fish and game. Those departments take a census so to speak of the animals in the state and issue hunting permits accordingly so we don’t shoot all of the animals out of existence.

      You didn’t specify where it has decreased 53%. Is that worldwide, in the US, in the arctic? Not all countries have the same hunting laws or are able to enforce the laws they have. If it is worldwide, you have to take into account global warming and overfishing by international commercial interests, habitat loss around the world, poaching, etc. You can’t just lay everything at the feet of hunters. Not that many people, especially in places like the USA and Britain, hunt anymore. Most people buy their meat in the grocery store. They don’t find it in a field.

  3. Loopy says:

    Do they actually eat these birds that they shoot or is it just some rich people’s hobby? I don’t understand how they can feel so strongly about anti-poaching then continue with this pass time.

    • Gea says:

      It is very hard for me to understand why somebody want to shoot anybody or anything, especially helpless animals. Prince Charles has been outspoken about poaching and killing wildlife in Africa but he is still passionate about hunting in his backyard.

    • MBP says:

      Most estates that hold shoots collect and sell the birds on to game dealers and restaurants, so yes they get eaten (and this I have no objection to, in fact I benefit from it).
      Whether the royals do things differently I don’t know, but I doubt they would lose out by not selling the birds, you know?

    • LadySlippers says:

      •Loopy•

      The birds shot ARE eaten. If the number of birds shot is greater than what can be eaten, the royals give the excess birds to places that serve food.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/game-for-anything-chefs-are-finding-wonderful-new-ways-with-woodcock-grouse-partridge-and-pheasant-2347166.html

    • charming says:

      Some grouse moors “provide” their hunting parties with the possibility of shooting up to 100 grouse per person. Hunting parties consist of 5-10 people minimum. So there are ate least 500 dead birds. Sometimes even 1.000.
      Anybody seriously want to tell me that they manage to “sell” or “eat” 1.000 dead grouse birds which have been riddled with shot gun pellets?

      I have recently seen the result of a bird hunt. The injured bird (duck) wasn’t found by the hunters nor by their dogs. As a result it died a slow painful death hidden in the bushes.
      And that is how must hunting victims end. Some injured animals die slowly somewhere in the wilderness because they manage to run away with some shot gun pellets in their bodies. The hunters aren’t good shots so they don’t manage to kill with their shots. The hunters don’t find them and don’t bother much with searching and the poor animal dies some kind of slow painful disgustingly cruel death … if you kill your dog like that then you are in for animal cruelty.
      Searching an injured animal takes a lot more skill than injuring an animal with a shot gun or a rifle. If you see hunters without bloodhounds / sleuthhounds then you know they have no intention of searching for the animals they injure.

      This is the 21st century. There is no need in western countries to kill animals in such a cruel way. There is enough food and nature doesn’t need hunters to regulate the animal population.

      • LadySlippers says:

        •charming•

        First, deer hunters don’t typically take dogs and I’ve seen a huge effort on the hunters part to track down a deer that’s been wounded but not killed. Most hunters try to limit the amount of pain they inflict. Do they succeed every time? Sadly no but luckily, that percentage is low.

        Second, in the UK, yes, the game is consumed (see article above). Even in the US I’ve yet to run across hunters that wantonly waste what they’ve hunted. Most either freeze, give away, or sell their excess game meat.

        Third, unless you are eating meat that you watched from birth/death to plate — most animals killed today live and die horrible deaths. Huge, mass farms, are terrible for all parties.

        Perhaps the men and women that I grew up with have different ethics than the one(s) you’ve experienced, I don’t know. But what you’ve described has not been what I’ve experienced.

    • India Andrews says:

      I think the birds are bred in the UK to be hunted kind of like stocking a lake for fishing. I’m not a fan of it. I like hunting wild animals like deer so that I can go months without needing to pay $5 a pound for meat. In the US that kind of hunting is regulated by each state’s department of fish and game. You can’t just go out and shoot everything in sight. In a lot of states in the USA they have laws against leaving edible meat from a deer or elk in the field if you’re not going to eat it. In Alaska it has to be donated to the needy in homeless shelters and food pantries. Those laws vary by state.

      A lot of hunters love being outdoor and among wildlife. They support legal hunting that doesn’t decimate animal populations. That’s why they draw the line at poaching.

  4. Nicola says:

    Edward’s kid is about 5 feet to his right. It’s the camera angle.

  5. Talie says:

    This is how they always handle their business. They use each other — William seems to have done it to Harry on more than a few occasions.

    • FLORC says:

      I think that was the press office or someone in the outer circle to the inner cirle that leaked it.
      William and Harry as brothers are very close and I doubt they would do that to each other. It’s more likely imo it was leaked to take pressure off of William, but not fired off by William.

  6. Ally.M says:

    Not sure why William and Charles are part of this story, all the royals have always hunted. Earlier this year there was controversy with William concerning ivory but I think the main story is Prince Edward’s complete disregard for son’s safety.

  7. Leroy says:

    When did this site become so obsessed with conspiracies? Was it an editorial choice to increase clicks or are the writers and readers going off the deep end w/o their meds?

    • megan says:

      Jason Knauf does not start until January, so he is not behind this.

      There are strong animal rights activists in the UK and every time a photo of a member of the BRF hunting pops up the issue bubbles to the surface again.

  8. Dany says:

    James is 6 years old… i wonder when we see the first pictures of George on a hunting trip. I bet he already has a rifle marked with his name.

    I´m still shocked about the photos of a 2 years old Prince Christian of Denmark crying among dead deer and foxes. That´s how royals “desensitize” their children for the favourite royal “sport”.

  9. LAK says:

    William was shooting the prior weekend to Charles’s weekend. He’s been shooting since the season began, several twitter pics of him caught on Balmoral or Sandrigham. The press simply doesn’t mention it or they call it ‘babymoon’.

    Edward’s picture is all about perspective of the camera. It looks like the baby is directly infront of him, but in actual fact is to the side.

    Charles has hunted in the past, he’s simply been careful NOT to be photographed doing so. Together with attempts to quash the photos on both fronts (asking pap to delete them or speaking to media to not publish), this is a big whoopsy on his part.

    • FLORC says:

      Ah twitter. Can’t hide from instant information access. That babymoon to balmoral lit up a few William watchers. Funny how that didn’t catch on more.

      I agree with the angle and am glad most people here see that too. Not only is he to the side, but also it’s over his head. The way it read I expected to see the boy standing almost next to the bird.

  10. FingerBinger says:

    That picture of Edward is frightening. How does Charles have more hair than Edward? Those Windsor genes are something else.

  11. Lol says:

    Oh for gods sake,
    a) as anyone who’d look closely at the picture with Edward and his son would realize, it’s the perspective that makes it look like he is aiming over his sons head
    b) there is a big difference between poaching/hunting endangered species or hunting for the trophy and “normal” hunting for population control and consumption (and no, the argument I’ve heard before, that nature controls its own population doesn’t hold true, humans killed all big predators, so now humans have to be the predators)
    c) unless you’re a vegetarian you do not get to complain about hunting. At least with hunting there is a connection between the animal and what will happen to it, unlike millions of meat consumers who pick up their vaccum packed meat up at the grocer and probably can’t even tell you which part of the body the meat their about to eat came from

    • LAK says:

      I’m a life long vegetarian – almost vegan. Can’t give up cow milk for my cuppa- sigh! And I don’t use leather goods, so I will complain loudly and obnoxiously about hunting in all forms.

      • Lol says:

        feel free to do that! I just can’t stand the hypocrisy of most people complaining about hunting, and then going on to eat their burger, or bacon or whatever you get the idea. Because mass slaughter of animals is okay as long as no one sees it and everyone can pretend their meat is grown in a petri dish *sarcasm*
        You may be able to tell that this is a very sore topic for me

      • FLORC says:

        Lol
        Are you refering to Shmeat? Meat grown from proteins in … waste? I saw a photo of that. The dish apeared to have what looked like some awful green brown and white substance growing from it like a broken egg. And was said to taste horrid!

    • India Andrews says:

      I agree LOL. I come from a family of deer and elk hunters. We ate the meat. My parents didn’t have to buy meat for months at a time because my dad hunted. I had so many girls growing up who looked askance at me while they chowed down on baloney sandwiches and hamburgers because my dad went into the woods and shot deer and elk. Now, when I think about it I say to myself, “Where can you find the most organic, free range, humanely raised, and if you’re a good shot, humanely slaughtered meat on the market? The wild. That’s where. Not to mention talk about being connected to your food. You can give GPS coordinates for your food and a description of what happened when the animal died. Also, if you can’t look the animal in the eye before you pull the trigger, you know its time to become a vegan. No divorce there.”

  12. familr says:

    The 2D lens make it looks bad. But the the kid could easily be in a 2- 3 o’clock position from the Prince (within peripheral vision which is perfectly safe.

  13. idsmith says:

    Hunting and poaching are not the same thing. The angle on the photo with the child is wrong making it look bad. Moving on.

    • MinnFinn says:

      I agree hunting is not equal to poaching. However, the reports about the Windsor style of hunting really really disturbs.

      QEII was photographed breaking the neck of a pigeon after it wasn’t killed by a bullet. Phil’s hunting party clubbed a fox to death after the bullet didn’t kill it. Edward was photographed beating his 2 hunting dogs with a stick because the dogs quarreled over a downed pheasant. Under very suspect circumstances Harry avoided being charged for killing two Harrier hens, an endangered species.

      • FLORC says:

        Oh wow! I get putting an animal out of it’s suffering, but surely there were guns present already! Why kill with your hands or beat with clubs?
        Disgusting people!

      • LadySlippers says:

        •Florc•

        The most humane way to kill a bird to often by wringing its neck. It’s quick and easy too.

        •MinnFinn•

        The accusations against Edward beating dogs was not proven in an official investigation. They deemed they didn’t have enough evidence as the photos never showed him actually making contact with either dog.

        The fact that Harry and one of the Van Cutsem boys were the only ones close to the Harrier hens (protected in England) and hunting on the Sandringham estate is very troubling. But again, nothing was proven.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1568966/Dirty-tricks-claim-in-Harry-shooting.html

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1110883/Prince-Edward-cleared-animal-cruelty-dog-beating-allegations.html

      • MBP says:

        F’lorc, wringing the neck of a small bird would be quicker than loading a gun and somehow hoping the injured animal stayed still while you placed it on the floor to shoot.

      • India Andrews says:

        You can’t leave a wounded animal in the field to suffer. That’s why if you don’t make a kill shot, you have to ring the bird’s neck quickly. I’ve never preferred bird hunting myself because they’re so small and hard to kill with one shot when they’re flying. As for foxes, I guess you could walk up and shoot it in the heart instead of beating it senseless. I’ve never been fox hunting. Never really wanted to do it.

  14. Lisa Danielle says:

    I don’t have a problem with hunting as these birds have probably lived much better than poultry you buy at the supermarket, but apparently these big estates will kill larger raptors that prey on grouse/pheasant/whatever to keep the population up. (Here people usually shoot deer because if there population goes up, so does the wolf population and Lyme Disease rate). There was some article about a hawk or kestrel that’s endangered and people are questioning whether gamekeepers at Sandringham are harming them so the royals can pull in dozens of birds, which I do take issue with.

  15. lisa says:

    when i was a little girl, my father used to say that the euro aristocracy had a lot in common with our own US rednecks – and i should avoid both

  16. anne_000 says:

    Even if the kid is to the side and front of Edward, he’s still in front.

    Edward should have told his kid to stand behind him or at least to the very side of him. The kid should not have been anywhere in the front of Edward, even if it’s to the side of him, as kids are unpredictable and can start running off like a flash.

  17. Ravensdaughter says:

    PR disaster indeed. The person who should be singled out here is Edward.

    To explain… I am practically vegetarian, but I did want to better understand the Dick Cheney shooting incident while bird hunting at least 10 yrs ago now. I think they were pheasant hunting (ground birds) with shotguns (bird shot scatters, unlike the single bullet from a rifle).

    I talked to a hunter to find out more; a fellow grad from my NC high school. He said hunting ground birds was dangerous because everyone crowds around the bird with shotguns supposedly aimed at the ground but just as likely at each other. Also remember bird shot scatters. Alcohol ups the ante; we’ll never know if alcohol was in that mix as well with the Dick Cheney incident.

    Shooting birds who fly is perhaps more dangerous, for reasons I did not explore with my hunter friend.

    Back to Edward. His son is 6 years old! Edward definitely has the Royals-are-oblivious-to-others issue, so it’s is highly likely he was not supervising or protecting his son in this dangerous situation as any parent (including a royal one) should. Best to leave children at home whilst hunting!

    Will stop there except to say they all should thank their lucky stars that none of this activity took place in the USA….

  18. joe spider says:

    This whole thing is a made up sham. Detest shooting if you like but the photo is all about angle and the boy was not in danger. @ ravensdaughter – pheasant shooting is not “hunting” in the full meaning of the word and your description of what happens in the US does not chime with organised pheasant shoots in the UK.