The Royal Family Is Reportedly Stunned That Prince Harry Skipped This Huge Balmoral Tradition for Meghan Markle

Prince Harry reportedly skipped grouse hunting, a royal tradition, in Scotland this August for his new wife, Meghan Markle. The royal family is reportedly stunned by Harry's decision.

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Just in case there were any lingering doubt, Prince Harry puts Meghan Markle first, ahead of everything—including long-standing royal traditions.

Last weekend, the royal family trekked out to Scotland for a family vacation. Because these are the royals we're talking about, the vacation included staying at Balmoral Castle (one of Queen Elizabeth II's personal favorite getaway spots) and acting like nothing has changed since the 1850s.

Okay, yes, that's an exaggeration, but one of the primary activities of the trip was the traditional royal grouse hunt (which can traced back to 1853). Prince George made headlines (and a little controversy) last week, when he participated in his first-ever grouse hunt at the young, young age of five.

George was joined by his mother, Kate Middleton, and most of the rest of the Windsor clan at least met up for a celebratory "way to hunt grouses, George" lunch after. Notably absent from the hunt? Prince Harry.

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(Image credit: Anwar Hussein)

According to Express, Harry—an avid hunter who participated in his own first grouse shoot 21 years ago—skipped out on the royal tradition, reportedly to appease his new wifeMeghan Markle, who is an outspoken advocate for animal welfare.

Harry also skipped a hunt in December, shortly after he and Meghan announced their engagement, according to The Sun. The decision reportedly "stunned" the royal family.

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"The Boxing Day shoot was always going to be a tricky issue. Meghan is a keen animal rights campaigner and doesn’t like hunting in any form," a royal source told The Sun. "Harry loves it and has always been out there on Boxing Day. But if it means breaking with long-standing royal traditions to avoid upsetting her, so be it. It’s fair to say that there are some pretty stunned faces around here."

It's not clear if Meghan explicitly asked Harry to skip the hunt or if made the decision independently, but it does seem like her views on animal rights probably played a part.

"If Meghan’s not comfortable with him doing the shoot, he wouldn’t want to upset her," the royal source said.

Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.