Queen Elizabeth was so concerned a bird shot on her country estate was lying in agony she went in search of it to “put it out its misery”.
The queen spent 10 minutes looking for the pheasant after Conservative politician Nicholas Soames hit it during a shoot on her Sandringham Estate, in Norfolk.
Soames – who is a Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex – insisted the bird was “stone dead” when it hit the ground, but the queen was not convinced and wanted to check for herself.
A source told the Daily Mirror: “The queen is a traditional countrywoman and hates the idea of a bird in agony. She makes sure they are also put out of their misery.”
The queen gave up when her gun dogs were unable to find the bird.
Last year, the queen’s husband Prince Philip became embroiled in an animal cruelty scandal after a fox was seemingly left to die in agony during a hunt lead by the royal.
Photos published in the press appeared to show the animal, who had been shot, writhing in agony for five minutes before being clubbed to death by a member of the eight-man party during the shoot on the queen’s Sandringham Estate on January 20.
The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) launched an investigation into the incident under the 1996 Wild Mammals Protection Act.