01/16/2013

Pippa becomes a target after joining Belgian hunt

PippaIt has been rough enough for Pippa Middleton with the book critics savaging her. Now it's animal rights groups.

The Duchess of Cambridge's younger sister is suffering some backlash over a report in a Belgian newspaper, La Capitale, that detailed a hunting trip Pippa was on Dec. 1 in Gerpinnes, Belgium. It took place in woods owned by the country's richest man, Albert Frère, and was organized by his grandsons.

There were 20 people in the hunting party, the paper said, and the day's bounty totalled six boars and nine deer. There was no word if she was involved directly in any of the kills.

It's all perfectly legal, but it did not sit well with animal groups like British-based Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals).

"It's a shame she's so desperate to be royal by association that she is now seemingly aping their hunting bloodlust," spokesman Justin Kerswell told the Sun in London. "There is nothing classy about shooting terrified wild animals for sport."

The League Against Cruel Sports also chimed in: "It's sad to see someone in such an influential position indulging in this cruelty."

Pippa is no stranger to hunting, having bagged her share of pheasant and grouse, and is reportedly a good shot. She also has been pretty good at hitting the bull's-eye with invitations of all sorts from her wealthy friends, though it's unclear how she came to enter the circle of Belgian aristocracy.

It was probably at least a distraction from trying to help her publisher unburden itself from the unsold copies of her party-planning book "Celebrate."

According to La Capitale, Pippa was almost incognito during the hunt -- dressed in a "khaki tracksuit" that hid her "mythical bottom" -- though the paper cites three sources confirming she was there. When she was being introduced to her hunting mates, she apparently was using her full name, Philippa.

"I shook her hand. But at that moment I didn't recognize her," one hunter told the paper. "Afterwards a friend teased me, saying 'what, you didn't recognize Pippa?'"

The Frère family would not confirm the story, saying only that "hunting is a private matter."

PRINCE WILLIAM KICKS OFF BIRTHDAY

With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee out of the way, Prince William can get started on celebrating what really matters in England -- soccer. Or 'football' for the non-North American purists.

William, as president of the Football Association since 2006, helped kick off the FA's 150th year on Wednesday with a video salute to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers, coaches and referees who keep the sport kicking at the grassroots level.

William, whose favourite pro team is Aston Villa, even managed to squeeze Kate into his video:

 

QUEEN LOOKING FOR ANSWERING SERVICE

When you get 200-300 letters a day -- and that's just the ones the mailman delivers -- it's not hard to fall behind in your correspondence.

StampQueen Elizabeth -- or Buckingham Palace anyway -- needs some more help in this department, hence a job ad for an "assistant correspondence officer" on the palace website.

The Queen reads a selection of mail, but much of it is handled by an unpaid 'lady-in-waiting' or her Private Secretary's office, according to the palace.

The job's is for six months and would pay about $16,000. For that, you count and sort the mail, answer letters using "standard and bespoke replies" and log everything into a database.

Among the qualities needed is remaining "calm under pressure" while using your ability to "read and digest a large number of letters in a short space of time."

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