Royals

Duchess Catherine has taken Prince George grouse shooting and people are not happy about it

The public is divided about whether or not a five-year-old should be taken shooting.

Like other five-year-olds across the nation, Prince George spent the weekend out and about with his family, enjoying the last hurrah of the UK's summer holidays before heading back to school at the start of September.

Unlike other five-year-olds, however, George's particular choice of weekend activity has proven to be pretty controversial: this weekend marked the prince's first ever grouse shoot, sparking debate as to whether this centuries-old royal tradition should still persist, and whether such a young child should be exposed to it.

According to The Sun's royal correspondent Emily Andrews, the entire Cambridge family spent the Bank Holiday weekend at Balmoral, the Queen's Scottish country estate, where "George was taken to his first grouse shoot on Friday by Kate."

The Queen and Prince Charles were present for lunch afterwards, along with Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and their two children, Princess Anne and Zara and Mike Tindall.

Shooting grouse, a small game bird common to the region, is not an activity exclusive to the royal family, and is rooted in Scottish tradition.

However, news that five-year-old George had already taken part in a shoot was received somewhat negatively online, with some commentators raising valid questions as to whether a child of George's age should be encouraged to participate.

"It make me feel sad & angry that he's going to grow up without any empathy for animals," wrote one Twitter user.

"Such a shame that another innocent child will grow up to believe that killing animals for fun will be the normal thing to do," added another.

Others, however, were quick to defend the royals, noting that we'd be unlikely to criticise the family for, say, eating meat.

All we can assume is that, given their general attitude towards social media - and the fact that Balmoral is probably a little sparse on 3G signal - the royals themselves are unlikely to wade into the Twittersphere to defend themselves any time soon.

Hopefully George's next major outing will prove rather less divisive: the Prince will start in Year One at Thomas's Battersea on 6th September, with both parents set to accompany him on the first day of term.

There, he'll be encouraged to get involved in all manner of (less controversial) hobbies, including drama and ballet dancing.

Via our sister site Grazia.