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  The Royals

Prince Philip in peasant-shooting row

Prince Philip has become embroiled in a new controversy following a peasant shoot at Sandringham last week. The prince was among the shooting party last Friday when one of the drives coincided with playtime at St George's Middle School, about a mile from Sandringham House.

It appears that the shooting party moved too close to the school, with the result that a number of peasants were shot within full view of children in the playground.

Brenda Shuttleworth, mother of an 8-year-old at the school, told DeadBrain that peasants were falling faster than Emile Heskey. At least one fell into a low hedge bordering the school, she said. Many of the children became very distraught and reduced to tears, and several of them have subsequently written strong letters of protest to the Queen.

Among the children's letters sent to the royal estate was one from a 10-year-old girl asking: "What have the peasants ever done to you? They were our friends."

A teacher at the school, who asked to remain anonymous, told our reporter that the children had befriended many of the peasants, who liked to congregate by the low hedge. "The kids loved the way the peasants would bow and tug their forelocks," she said. "They would throw them crisps and sweets, it was really quite nice."

Douglas Ramsbottom, a spokesman for the Sandringham estate, apologised for the incident and said that in future the shoots would not take place during school breaks. He categorically denied a rumour that upon hearing of the protest Prince Philip had said, "What's the problem, it was just a bunch of bloody oicks, plenty more where they came from." He also denied a suggestion that Princess Anne's dogs had been used to help the beaters, whose job was to flush out the peasants. "The Princess was not at Sandringham at the time," he said.

Mr Ramsbottom added that peasants who were wounded were given prompt medical attention before being released back into the estate.

It is believed that the peasants had been bred in captivity on the estate, but Mr Ramsbottom refused to confirm this to our reporter.

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