Australian-born Crown Princess Mary, 47, has been slammed by PETA and social media users alike for her involvement in a recent hunting event that saw dozens of deer killed.
The annual 'King's Hunt' was hosted by the Danish royal family at Gribskov forest on Wednesday, with a ‘hunting parade’ - which saw the slain animals laid out in rows on the lawn - taking place at nearby Fredensborg Castle.
Photos of the event show Mary, her husband Crown Prince Frederik, 51, and 80-year-old Queen Margrethe, standing in front of the deer carcasses, smiling and chatting with other members of the crowd.
WARNING: the following images may be distressing to some readers.
In one photo, Frederik is seen walking among the rows of dead deer - which appear to be a mix of does and stags - inspecting the ‘proceeds of the day’.
Several snaps were shared on the Danish royal family’s official Instagram account, @detdanskekongehus, along with a caption detailing the hunt which has been translated to English from Danish.
“This morning, the King’s Hunt was held in Gribskov, and this afternoon there was a game parade in front of Fredensborg Castle, where H.M. The Queen, the Crown Prince couple, and the participants of the hunt watched the proceeds of the day,” the caption read.
It went on to explain that the queen was hosting a ‘hunting table’ in the Dome Hall at Fredensborg Castle, during which it’s a tradition for the day’s kills to be counted and a toast read for ‘all brave hunters’ ahead of the Autumn hunting season that runs until mid-January.
Fredensborg Castle was built as a hunting castle in 1719, according to the Danish royal family’s official website, and is where Queen Margrethe is said to stay for three months twice a year.
While Mary and Frederik’s children - Prince Christian, 14, Princess Isabella, 12, and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, eight - weren’t present at Wednesday’s hunt, the couple has copped criticism for their ‘poor’ parenting choices.
In a statement supplied to Yahoo Lifestyle, PETA blasted the royal pair for supporting a ‘violent blood sport’ and stressed the negative impact the practice may have on their four children.
“There is nothing noble about shooting defenceless animals for fun. Given the now well-established link between cruelty to animals in childhood and violent behaviour in adulthood, not only is it insensitive for Prince Frederik and Princess Mary to teach their children that killing animals is acceptable, it’s also a poor parenting decision,” a PETA spokesperson said.
“Few people today view hunting as anything other than a violent blood sport, a cheap thrill at taking a life and a display of wanton power over the powerless. It is surely the parents’ responsibility to help children grow into compassionate leaders for their country, with respect for all living beings,” they added.
People on social media have expressed their opinion of the hunt in the comments section of the royal family’s Instagram post.
“I am intrigued by the traditions of the Danish royals, however I am a bit sorry for the animals!” wrote one user, whose comment has been translated from Italian.
Another simply posted a crying face emoji.
Others appeared to endorse the practice, with one writing, “Lovely day in the forest as usual” which has been translated from Danish.
Earlier in November, the princess shared a photo of Christian and Josephine at the annual Hubertus Hunt which is held in the Deer Park in Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, to celebrate the end of the hunting season.
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