Prince Charles considers giving up fox hunting


The Prince of Wales is considering giving up fox hunting after Britain's parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a ban, newspapers reported yesterday. Prince Charles is having seriously to consider giving up fox hunting or face a clash between his private wishes and what he sees as his public duty," the Mail on Sunday said in a front-page report. The Express said the heir to the British throne, who has hunted for 20 years, was "said to be reviewing his stand on the issue because of the strength of public feeling".

On Friday, the House of Commons voted by 411 to 151 in favour of a private member's bill to outlaw the hunting of foxes, deer and other wild mammals with dogs.

The government gave no guarantee that it would allow the bill enough debating time to become law, but the issue drew intense interest in a nation of animal lovers that remains proud of its rural traditions.

Prince Charles loves hunting, fishing and shooting - traditional pasttimes of the landed gentry - but is anxious to stay in step with public opinion following the death of Princess Diana.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman would not comment on the prince's plans, saying only that Prince Charles did not wish to be drawn into a public debate on hunting. But the Mail quoted aides to the prince as saying Charles was "acutely aware" that his position as future king relied on his responding to the public mood.

His mistress, Ms Camilla Parker Bowles, who shares his love of country life, has no such qualms and rode in a hunt in south-west England on Saturday.