Red jacket and black fur hat: the uniform of the guards in front of Buckingham Palace is part of the royal inventory. But the palace and the army have long been under pressure from animal protection organizations.
The impressive headdress of the royal guard, sewn from bear skins, is about half a meter long and weighs a kilo. What is now a festive decoration for droves of tourists was once part of the British Army's psychological warfare arsenal.
Black bearskin hats made the soldiers appear larger and more menacing. Impressive behavior of the animal kingdom. During the Napoleonic Wars, the ancient headdress was intended to intimidate and intimidate enemies.
Today bearskin hats are worn only by the five Royal Guards regiments. It remained a visual display of power. In the eyes of animal rights activists, it is also an unnecessary massacre.
For every hat, a bear must be killed in faraway Canada. With a park the size of 1,700 soldiers, that's a lot of bears skinned, nailed and balanced on soldiers' heads in London. According to the Ministry of Defense, about 500 bears have been turned into hats in the past seven years. This can be used to cover the Guard's consumption during times of ceremonial peace.
Film props also had to be used for Charles' coronation
But because bears cannot be shot on demand, bear numbers reach their limits in exceptionally festive situations. According to the conservative Daily Telegraph, long-time animal rights activist Charles III had to be crowned. Bear hats can be rented on short notice from movie studios and costume rental companies.
What makes things more difficult now is that animal protection organizations are demanding that they stop importing bear skins. This issue is likely to push many Britons into a major dilemma.
Great Britain is a nation of animal lovers. This was recently shown by a survey conducted by a major daily newspaper. 90% of British people oppose wearing fur.
At the same time, the majority of Britons support maintaining the monarchy. The royal splendor, which regularly consoled British subjects with the increasing demands of daily life, included not only carriages and cannons, but also fur hats.
Original weather resistant
Animal protection organizations understand this. They are not calling for hats to be abolished, only for them to be made of faux fur in the future.
But the British Ministry of Defense hints at this. Faux fur hats are neither long-lasting nor weatherproof enough. On the other hand, a well-cared-for bearskin can be used for over fifty years, and real fur hats have been an established tradition of the British Armed Forces for 200 years.
Well-known British actor Stephen Fry, who currently prominently supports the demands of animal protection organizations, is not averse to tradition. He is an avowed royalist and a friend of the king. He says traditions are important, but they cannot be an excuse for cruelty.
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