KATE MIDDLETON drew the condemnation of animal rights charities when she was spotted taking part in an “absolutely appalling” and “cruel” pastime with the Royal Family at Balmoral.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William delighted royal watchers last week as they took part in the King’s Cup Regatta, their first engagement in the UK after returning from summer holiday in Mustique. The Duke and Duchess’ next stop will be the Queen’s beloved Scottish estate Balmoral, where they are expected to take Prince George, Princess Charlotteand Prince Louis before the older children are back at school in September. However, in October 2007, Kate faced sharp criticism when she was pictured learning how to hunt and shoot deer.
The future Duchess was taught to deer stalk on the royal estate by Prince Charles.
The pastime is particularly dear to Prince William, who learned at the knee of his grandfather Prince Philip.
The Daily Mail reported at the time: “Eyewitnesses said Miss Middleton showed a remarkable level of confidence as she chatted enthusiastically with Prince Charles while he showed her the ropes.”
However, animal rights charities condemned Kate’s actions.
The Duchess of Cambridge (Image GETTY)
Kate Middleton and Prince William pictured in 2007 (Image Getty)
A spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said: ”It is shocking and abhorrent that she is engaging in blood sports.
“Kate is obviously trying to endear herself to the Royal Family and her decision will do her no favours whatsoever.”
PETA’s Yvvone Taylor added: “Kate is obviously trying to endear herself to the Royal Family, which is absolutely appalling.
“It wasn’t so long ago when she was pictured wearing a fur hat which caused a public outcry and now she is endorsing blood sports.
“The vast majority of the public will be disgusted by these images.
“Some have compared Kate to Diana, but Diana never wore fur and she also turned against blood sports.”
Traditional deer stalking in the Scottish Highlands (Image Getty)
A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said: ”Killing deer for a sport is a horrible pastime. It’s very sad that she has chosen to participate in this cruel sport.
“It’s hardly a setting a good role model for young women, killing animals and I can’t see that this will do her reputation any good whatsoever.”
Princess Diana faced criticism in the Eighties when she was accused of cruelly wounding a stag while stalking with the Prince of Wales shortly before their royal wedding.
Although Diana was ‘blooded’ by ghillies – a ceremony which involves a hunter’s forehead being smeared with the blood of their first kill – she vowed never to take part again.
Balmoral Castle (Image Getty)
Prince Charles, Prince WIlliam and Prince Harry pictured at Balmoral (Image Getty)
Stalking deer is the stealthy pursuit of deer on foot, and the animals are usually shot with a rifle.
In the Scottish Highlands, the historic practice is essential to control the population of deer, which have no natural predators in the UK.
Kate’s Balmoral trip that year was also a sign that the brief break-up between William and Kate was over.
Unbeknown to the wider world at that time, Prince William had already whisked Kate off on a romantic trip to the Seychelles to repair the relationship.
Royal Residences (Image DX)
The pair made a secret pact of commitment to each other on the tropical island of Desroches after the 2007 split-up, which William had initiated when he “needed some space”.
There have reportedly been tensions brewing around Balmoral this year, too, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to be delaying their annual trip until after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have left Scotland.
Writing in the Daily Mail, royal expert Robert Jobson claims the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are waiting until Meghan and Harry return to Windsor before heading up to Balmoral.
Mr Jobson claims Kate and William’s delay in their trip could be down to previous comments made by both Harry and Meghan rubbing them up the wrong way.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles on honeymoon at Balmoral (Image Getty)
Earlier this month, Harry spoke about the couple’s plan to have a maximum of two children for environmental reason, which came in contrast to William and Kate’s three children and rumours of a fourth.
Mr Jobson added: “What will have fuelled William and Kate’s disquiet, too, is Meghan’s stint as guest editor on British Vogue’s September issue.
“The Duchess insisted it would have been ‘boastful’ to appear on the cover – but failed to mention that Kate became the fashion bible’s cover star two years previously.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK