It has been revealed that the Duke of Cambridge wants to strip Buckingham Palace of all of its 1,200 pieces of ivory and destroy them.
The Independent on Sunday reports that some 1,200 objects in the royal collection are made from ivory and their destruction would apparently be welcomed by wildlife activists across the world.
A throne from India that incorporates elephant ivory plaques is just one of the items that Prince William wishes to have destroyed. It is hoped that the move would encourage other heads of states give up their ivory collections.
This comes just days after William attended the world’s largest conference in relation to this cause. It was there that the organisers and attendees called for an end to the ivory trade. The Duke also launched United for Wildlife last week, made up of different organisations, which aims to end the illegal wildlife trade.
The Prince of Wales has also reportedly asked to put ivory items at Clarence House and Highgrove out of sight over the past few years.
Whereas wildlife campaigners are pleased with this news, art collectors are not. Brian Sewell, an art critic and lover of elephants, said destroying art is a “menacing response” to the issue of poaching. He added that “we have to recognise that these items exist” and there is no point in destroying items that were created many centuries ago.
However, what to do with any items relating to the royal collection must be decided by the Sovereign.
photo credit: pmwebphotos via photopin cc
Oh that would kill me. The historian is right. Other options are to put them in museums and educate people on the history of ivory and poaching, return the pieces to the governments of the areas they came from, or even try to track down the families of the artists and return the pieces to them. My stepfather was born in Uganda because my grandparents were Catholic doctors there. As gifts for the births of him and his twin brother, we have several pieces of ivory. Obviously displaying them out in the house or ever sealing them would be wrong, but they are part of history. I would never destroy them.
I’d agree if the already murdered elephants come back to reclaim their ivory. I disagree with the destruction of antiquities.
William needs to be reigned in and educated on the limits of his authority and proper use of influence. The destruction of antiquities is not something that should be advocated. While his work for the protection of wildlife is admirable, ALL items in the Royal Collection should be preserved. None of them should ever be destroyed. I’m also personally offended that William thinks he has or should have the authority to destroy historic items in the collection even if they are made of items that would now be banned (coral, ivory, tortoise shell, etc). No person should have that authority. These items are not his personal property nor are they the personal property of the Queen. Anyone who wants to (or does) destroy antiquities to prove a point, garner support for their activity (no matter how honourable), or just because the material used is nothing more than a despot. William’s royal status doesn’t change that. When I read this article I immediately thought of the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddahs of Bamiyan.
What once came from an age of plenty, like all abundance should be honoured, and not destroyed. Our voice in HRH William DOC is raised in example of what treasures and assets should be protected from harm, today. In 2015, the legacy of artisans who created beauty from ivory long ago (to sustain the lives of subsistent families at the time) and the lives of the elephants lost should stand as an example that the value of wealth transforms through time. Today the fragile existence of endangered species is foremost. Good leadership steps forward to protect the less fortunate, or those at risk for a more noble future. Many generations exemplify the authority of their knowledge, and history records the results. In recent and ancient lifetimes, the destruction of cultural evidence has always proven a regretful error. The evidence serves to educate and validate the cultural terms of our own era, lest we forget those of the past. The purpose of museums and palaces is to serve as the repository of our civilizations greatest and bleakest hours through the remnant remains which survive. To destroy the threads of immortality which art creates, destroys the memory of the Unknown Craftsman as well as the Sacrificial Elephant. Within my own family, multiple generations have spoken, joined and given more/all, for a visionary mission to see these young men representing their nation and all nations, with a designation of: The Defender, not The Destroyer, after their names when history is told to future generations, long before they were born. Choose wisely. xo
I don’t see the sense in destroying things that were made long ago when ivory is being traded on eBay and Etsy every day, referred to as “antique” or “pre-ban.” Clearly, the vast majority of it is not antique and some of it is disguised and made to look old. I agree that antiquities should not be destroyed. Nothing can be done to bring back these poor animals, but clearly more must be done to prohibit the sale of modern ivory doodads.
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