Why Meghan Markle Won't Go Grouse-Hunting at Balmoral This Year

It's a popular activity at Balmoral.

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Joe Giddens - PA ImagesGetty Images
    • Meghan Markle, lover of animals, was said to be less than a fan of the tradition.

        It's officially been announced: neither Meghan Markle nor any other member of the British royal family will go grouse-hunting at all this year at Balmoral. It's a popular pastime at the estate, although Meghan hasn't participated in previous years. But this year, due to an infestation of heather beetles from a severe winter storm earlier this year, the hunting has been cancelled.

        So here's the context, in case you're not familiar. Meghan Markle is, among other things, a proud animal rights activist. She's allegedly not a fan of the grouse-hunting tradition (she hasn't commented publicly, but there was speculation that Prince Harry skipped the tradition in 2017 because he was dating her). However, she participated in the traditional gathering on Boxing Day last year—even though it's highly unlikely that she actually did any hunting. It wasn't clear whether Harry did or not, and whether Meghan was there for it. Now the whole thing is a moot point:

        Though [heather beetles] have long been a nuisance in the moors around Balmoral Castle, this year they are out with particular force and threatening the local grouse population. Grouse, the squat, round cousins of the chicken, are legion at Balmoral, and hunting parties have long been a royal pastime. Though the “Glorious Twelfth,” the name for the official first day of grousing season, was Monday, it seems the Queen and her kin will shoot no grouse in the coming weeks...grouse hunting is cancelled at Balmoral this year due to a dwindling number of birds...Since grouses depend on the greenery from the moors to survive, an infestation has the potential to wipe out the population.

        The Queen's been spotted out and about in the area, since she's there currently. Apparently it hasn't dampened her spirits any (that's her with the Duke of York):

        Queen attends church service - Crathie Kirk
        Jane Barlow - PA ImagesGetty Images

        Meghan and Harry are due to visit Balmoral this summer, so there's speculation this may make her stay more enjoyable.


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