SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Riddle of the death of a little owl on the queen’s estate

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She has decided to give up her traditional family Christmas at Sandringham for the first time in 33 years.

But, as she and Prince Philip remain in Windsor over the holiday season, the Queen will no doubt have been alarmed to learn of the disturbing death of an owl killed in a trap on her beloved Norfolk estate.

His inadvertent disappearance was brought to the attention of the RSPCA and the local gendarmerie.

The incident happened in May but was only investigated this month.

“We have been contacted by a man wishing to inform us that on May 29 of this year he found a little owl caught in a Fenn trap on the Sandringham estate next to Flitcham Barns,” says the National Anti-Snaring Campaign.

The baby owl died in Sandringham in May after being caught in a Fenn trap, designed to kill pests such as rats and squirrels.

He claims that a Fenn trap, designed to kill pests such as rats and squirrels, can also endanger stoats – unlike the Spring Trap Approval Ordinance which went into effect last April.

The Estate insists that its tenants scrupulously respect the spirit and the letter of the law. “As a working estate, Sandringham adheres to all relevant standards and regulations,” a spokesperson tells me.

Norfolk Constabulary confirms that everything is in order. “There were no other events,” a spokeswoman told me, explaining that “advice” was given by the RSPCA to the head of Sandringham [game] guardian.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We were very worried that this poor animal died in this trap and we gave advice so that it does not happen again. ”

The RSPCA said it was `` very concerned '' about the baby owl's death and advice was given to workers in the field.

The RSPCA said it was “very concerned” about the death of the baby owl and advice was given to workers in the field.

A spokesperson for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation points out that Fenn traps are “perfectly legal” and play an important role on a 20,000 acre estate like Sandringham.

“You are not allowed to use them to target stoats,” the spokesperson told me, explaining that, judging from the photo of the dead owl in the trap, “proper precautions were taken.”

However, he adds, accidents can happen.

A point on which HM would surely agree.

Which map! Dilyn cuts a line in her garland collar

Now we know who really is the best dog in 10 Downing Street.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose his beloved Jack Russell cross, Dilyn, to feature on the front of his Christmas card which he sent in conjunction with his fiancee, Carrie Symonds.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose his beloved Jack Russell cross, Dilyn, to play on the front of his Christmas card which he sent together with his fiancee, Carrie Symonds

Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose his beloved Jack Russell cross, Dilyn, to play on the front of his Christmas card which he sent together with his fiancee, Carrie Symonds

Many of Mr Johnson's predecessors, including Tony Blair and David Cameron, put themselves and their (human) loved ones in the spotlight

Many of Mr Johnson’s predecessors, including Tony Blair and David Cameron, put themselves and their (human) loved ones in the spotlight

It’s a bit of a break with tradition as many of his predecessors, including Tony Blair and David Cameron, put themselves and their (human) loved ones in the spotlight.

When Boris caught Covid, there were concerns that Dilyn would have it too, as he was starting to wheeze and refused to walk around.

But he looks healthy now as he obediently poses in front of No.10 with garlands around his neck.

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” reads the message inside the card, signed by Boris and Carrie, the mother of her seven-month-old son Wilfred.

Government ‘crushes’ London restaurants

“King of the clubs” Robin Birley is furious with Boris Johnson.

Birley had to close his private Mayfair clubs, 5 Hertford Street and Oswald, for the third time this year, when the capital entered Tier 3 yesterday.

“I’m not going to dwell on how this government is crushing restaurants in London,” he told members.

“It amazes me that you can visit a packed department store, but cannot go out to a restaurant.

Boris used to visit Hertford Street, but he might want to give it plenty of space for a while when it reopens.

Aitken returns to Old Bailey

Former priest Jonathan Aitken returned to familiar territory at Old Bailey this week.

“I chaired the annual Carol Service at the Central Criminal Court,” he told me.

“He was surprisingly well attended.

“Judges and lawyers obviously know the law on social distancing. ”

Marie’s Christmas in a festive bubble

Big parties can be canceled this Christmas, but socialite Lady Mary Charteris won’t let her dampen her spirits.

Lady Mary Charteris 'got in the spirit' by sharing a photo of herself making a Santa impression using bubble bath foam

Lady Mary Charteris ‘got in the spirit’ by sharing a photo of herself making a Santa impression using bubble bath foam

The 33-year-old daughter of the Earl of Wemyss and Catherine Guinness shared a photo of herself making her impression of Santa Claus using bubble bath foam.

“Get in the spirit,” she explains from the bathroom of her five-star hotel in New York City, which she visits with her musician husband of eight years, Robbie Furze.

Mescal refuses sex scenes

He put on running impulses by going nude in the BBC TV drama Normal People.

Now 24-year-old Paul Mescal is refusing scripts suggesting similar explicit sex scenes.

“They were done in such a careful and well-judged way that unless I feel a story screaming at me like normal people, I’ll try to avoid it as best I can,” the Irishman told me.

Clash of the Royals

Hopefully bad timing doesn’t stir up unease between the royal siblings.

The announcement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new deal with Spotify, which will see them host and produce podcasts, eclipsed the same-day release of a video of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thanking key workers for their efforts this year.

Called “A Christmas Surprise for Key Workers,” it was shared on their social media account and is told in the style of a festive children’s story, with Prince William saying, “It was two weeks before Christmas and across the country, key workers continued to work to help us.

Robbie will take this vinegar from your hands

Pop star Robbie Williams admits to having very strange food cravings.

“I’m addicted to balsamic vinegar… that’s a problem. I would have Weetabix and balsamic vinegar if I could, ”he says.

Liz Glams Vying For An Award – At Home

Actress Elizabeth Hurley never fails to live up to the sartorial occasion.

Elizabeth Hurley received a Lifetime Achievement Award this week at her £ 6million home in Herefordshire.  The award was presented by Cosmetic Executive Women for her work with Estee Lauder and her campaign against breast cancer.

Elizabeth Hurley received a Lifetime Achievement Award this week at her £ 6million home in Herefordshire. The award was presented by Cosmetic Executive Women for her work with Estee Lauder and her campaign against breast cancer.

Receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award this week, she hosted a celebration at her £ 6million home in Herefordshire.

Glamorous in a £ 600 Rebecca Vallance gown, Liz, 55, shared a photo of herself with the Cosmetic Executive Women’s Award for her work with Estee Lauder and her campaign against breast cancer.

“All dressed (at home) to receive the award,” she said.

Her former fiance, ex-cricketer Shane Warne, was among the first to congratulate her.

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