The Deer Stalking & Shooting World Mourn the Loss of Prince Philip
- Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Here at County Deer Stalking it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the passing of a great shooting man and ambassador for field sports, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who sadly passed away on the 09th April 2021 aged 99 years.
As a former patron of the British Association of Shooting & Conservation (BASC) and in a lifetime that spanned that of many big game hunters such as Karamojo Bell and Peter Capstick. Prince Philp himself was engaged in countless hunting and Shooting adventures, not only at Sandringham, which under his mentorship became a widely respected model of shooting and conservation, but also during countless other adventures, including deer stalking at Balmoral, hunting Tiger in Nepal with the Queen and hunting Crocodile on the Gambia River.
As well as enjoying his shooting, Prince Philip was also a great visionary and recognised the link between shooting and conservation long before it became part of the popular narrative. Indeed, Prince Philip remained a committed conservationist throughout his life and as a final statement of his love of field sports, fittingly elected to be transported to his final resting place in a modified Landrover ‘Gun bus’ from the Sandringham Estate.
With his school years spent at Gordonstoun in Aberdeenshire and the countryside pervading much of Prince Philip’s life, it was his sheer practicality and love of the countryside that endeared him to countless field sport enthusiasts.
The Windsor owned Balmoral estate, which spans some 55,000 acres of prime highland deer stalking was a favoured holiday location of the Royal and during his time spent there, Prince Philip enjoyed shooting fishing and deer stalking.
The Scotsman recently remarked:
“The Royals’ appreciation for shooting and hunting on the estate’s sprawling grounds is no secret, shown in all its glory when the Duke of Edinburgh received the gift of a silver tankard etched with engravings of the Estate’s deer-stalking areas at St Andrew's Day celebrations in London, 2006. “It’s unusual to get something useful,” the duke reportedly remarked. (09th April 2021 The Scotsman)
And like any true hunter knows, hunting is about selectively harvesting a sustainable food source from its natural environment, and it seems much of the harvest was likely to end up on the BBQ.
Sir Robert Woodward on Prince Philip’s love of hosting the Balmoral barbecue remarked:
“He’d lead ashore with all the barbecue kit and the Queen would come later with the salad supplies and all the side dishes”.
Of course, what was so wonderful about Prince Philip was his unapologetic nature, yes, he sometimes put his foot in it. Once in 1996 after the Dublane shootings and amidst calls to ban firearms he said:
“If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?”
Today in a climate in which the UK main-stream press seeks to vilify the shooting community, it is a tragedy that more prominent individuals do not speak openly and honestly about their love of shooting and hunting.
One can only hope. Prince Harry has shot and hunted his whole life, Prince William as recently as August 2020, took young Prince George along on a Grouse shoot and countless other Royal’s dignitaries, celebrities, former prime ministers and politicians all shoot and stalk. Let us hope that they show just a little of the courage of Prince Philip in standing up for what they believe - that field sports and conservation go hand and hand.
Prince Philip 10th June 1921 – 09th April 2021. May he rest in peace.