Almost one month on since releasing his memoir, Spare, into the world, Prince Harry has continued to court controversy as readers plough through the lengthy book and discover some of the revelations that hadn’t made it into the press.

While talk of his grief at losing his mother Princess Diana and recollections of his ongoing feud with his older brother Prince William have dominated the headlines, one story that hasn’t gained as much traction is the acknowledgment of Harry’s own experience of hunting, something it has been claimed he gave up in order to “please Meghan.”

From making his first kill at the age of 11 and being “blooded” by the nanny, the books makes reference to numerous incidences of death throughout his lie, including when he stalked and killed a deer, accompanied the Queen on a shoot, and later on confessed to killing 25 members of the Taliban while serving as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.

Here, we take a look back at Harry’s hunting history; and what prompted him to give it all up.

First Kill

One of the first mentions of Harry’s first brush with hunting is at the tender age of 11, when the Prince makes his first kill, a rabbit, alongside his “nanny.”

According to the Prince’s account, Tiggy smears blood on the young prince’s face marking the first time he is ever “blooded” following the taking of a life.

This later also continues at Balmoral, when he recalls stalking and killing a deer, only for his guide to shove his face inside the carcass and fill his mouth with the animals’ blood and guts.

Clearly unnerved by the experience, Harry recalls swiftly wiping away the entrails from his face, only to be told “Let it dry, lad! Let it dry!”.

It was a “baptismal” experience, he explained.

Fox and Grouse Hunting

For much of his early life, Prince Harry was actively involved in the annual Fox and Grouse hunting tradition that took place every boxing day among the royal family.

Joining his father King Charles, and older brother Prince William, Harry took part in the annual hunt which tasked the royals with hunting for foxes, deer, hare and grouse every Christmas.

However, despite being a large part of his childhood, since the Prince began to date Meghan Markle he frequently began to miss the occasions out of respect to her, as the staunch animal lover strongly opposed blood-sports and animal cruelty.

The Proposal

After deciding that he wished to spend the rest of his life with Meghan Markle, Prince Harry sought the permission of The Queen to pop the question – but again recalled broaching the subject while out hunting with her.

According to the memoir, Harry sought her blessing while on a shoot at Sandringham, with dead birds heavily overshadowing the poignancy of the moment.

“I saw Granny [begin] looking for dead birds, while her dogs hunted […] I walked out to the middle of the stubble field […] began helping. While we scanned the ground for dead birds, I tried to engage her in some light chat to loosen her up,” he writes.

In one instance, he even considers reaching down to pet the hunting dogs, but soon realises there is “a dead bird in each hand, their limp necks nestled between my fingers, their glazed eyes rolled all the way back” as he chooses that particular moment to ask the question.

Yes, the Queen replies, I “suppose” you can marry her.

Commitment to change

After leading a life dogged in blood for a large portion of his life, in 2015, Harry sought to make a conscious change as she spent the Summer volunteering overseas in South Africa to help tackle the poaching trade.

During the three month trip, Harry volunteered alongside Rangers in South Africa's Kruger National Park as he came face to face with the “pointless waste of beauty” that was the slaughter of elephants and rhinos for the black market trade.

In one particularly poignant moment, the Prince even assisted in the facial reconstruction of a rhino named Hope that had been attacked for it’s horn in the African nation.

"I know how lucky I am to have these experiences, but hearing stories from people on the ground about how bad the situation really is upset and frustrated me,” he said at the time.

Yet while the move was praised by many, it still wasn’t enough for some campaigners, who felt it was too little too late, after the Prince had previously posed alongside a buffalo he had shot and killed while on a South American hunting trip in 2004.


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