The Duke of Sussex did not break with tradition after all despite his wife's reported dissatisfaction with the matter.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced alleging that Prince Harry would be pulling out of the 40-year "Boxing Day" pheasant hunt tradition because it offended Princess Meghan's animal rights sensibilities. Many royal commentators and inside sources said the Duke's impending absence from the affair signified a greater rift within the family, being that he and his brother, Prince William, have typically used the hunt as a bonding experience.
According to the Daily Mail, however, Prince Harry did indeed join in on the "Boxing Day" pheasant shoot, though a question mark still looms as to whether or not his wife Meghan attended at his side. The Kensington Palace has continually denied that Meghan Markle's animal-loving had inspired Harry to withdraw from the hunt.
"The Mail's Richard Eden revealed that Meghan had made clear she was happy for Harry to continue shooting with the rest of the royal family, as he has done since the age of 12," reports the outlet. "There had been speculation that the 'Suits' star had told Harry he could not take part in the traditional shoot, despite staying at Sandringham House as guests of the Queen."
A palace source emphatically denounced the rumors in a statement to the Daily Mail. "It's completely untrue that Her Royal Highness has banned the Duke from shooting," said the source.
Contrary to the rumors that Harry has given up hunting, reports have now surfaced that he has acquired a black labrador puppy to be a gun dog. David Roper–Curzon, who has been shooting with the Prince, told Richard Eden: "[Harry] is a very good shot. Not only that, he is a great figure in supporting those who work in that industry."
While Meghan Markle indeed has been described as an animal rights activist, an inside source claims that it has not affected Prince Harry's love of shooting. "Like Harry, Meghan is very keen to promote wildlife charities and animal conservation," the source told the Daily Mail. "However, Harry believes shooting is a sustainable field sport and she won't stop him."
The rumors of Prince Harry's absence at this year's "Boxing Day" shoot was not entirely without substance, however, being that he missed out on last year prior to tying the knot with Meghan Markle. The reason for that missed attendance still remains unclear. He also skipped the grouse hunt at Balmoral three months ago.
Upon news that Prince Harry would allegedly skip the "Boxing Day" shoot, a royal source told the Sunday Mirror that Prince William was increasingly growing concerned that Meghan was pulling Harry away from the family.
"William sees this as another concerning example of his brother being pulled away from his family by his new wife," the source reportedly said. "Harry’s always loved hunting and it has provided them with a great chance to bond as brothers."
"But now it looks like Harry’s shooting days are over," the source continued. "It’s the latest point of contention between the Princes."
This Christmas, it appears that tradition wins and the royal family remains united.