On Tuesday, 22 November, an annual Christmas hunting parade took place at the Danish Royal Family’s Fredensborg Palace on the island of Zealand. Over a dozen deer were slaughtered and then viewed by the Queen Margrethe, the Crown Prince Couple, and their five-year-old twins, Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent.
The viewing of the carcases was to showcase the royal hunt done in the nearby Gribskov Forest. This is the fourth largest forest in Denmark. Hunters can keep what they kill as long as it’s not taken from private land.
The parade attendees posed for pictures beside the dead deer before the animals were gutted and laid out on the palace lawn to be inspected.
The young royal twins, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, appeared in shock as they held their mother’s hand while staring at the deer. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik, who retired this year, are regulars at the annual hunting festivals, which brings together Danish and French nobles.
This annual hunting tradition doesn’t sit well with Ashley Fruno, the associate director of campaigns of PETA Australia. She said to Women’s Day Australia, “[There’s] nothing noble about shooting defenceless animals for fun.”
“Given the now well-established link between cruelty to animals in childhood and violent behaviour in adulthood, not only is it insensitive for [Crown] Prince Frederik and [Crown] Princess Mary to teach their children that killing animals is acceptable, it’s also a poor parenting decision,” she said.
“Few people today view hunting as anything other than a violent blood sport, a cheap thrill at taking a life and a display of wanton power over the powerless.”
She continued by commenting on the responsibility of the parents to ensure their children grow up to become “compassionate leaders.” Ms Fruno said, “It is surely the parents’ responsibility to help children grow into compassionate leaders for their country, with respect for all living beings.”
To be fair, the Danish royals aren’t the only royals to hunt for sport. Despite the objections of Diana, Princess of Wales, both Princes William and Harry learned to hunt at a very young age — seven and ten respectively. The Duchess of Cambridge enjoys it, as well. However, the Cambridge’s balance their love for the sport with aggressive lobbying against the illegal wildlife trade. The Duke of Cambridge was in Hanoi, Vietnam, just last week speaking at a summit to attack the killing and selling of rhino horns and ivory from elephants.
What are your thoughts on hunting for sport and the participation of royals?