Royal day out as Anne steps into show ring

Princess Anne at the Great Yokshire ShowPrincess Anne at the Great Yokshire Show
Princess Anne at the Great Yokshire Show
After a Beef Shorthorn tried to upstage her as she inspected the cattle on the second day of the Great Yorkshire Show, the Princess Royal demonstrated an impressive knowledge of butchery.

Anne had been in the judging ring when Highlee Kinder Rose, one of three national breed champions, evidently decided that her allotted space at the outer edge did not do her justice, and dragged her handler to the centre.

“It was a hot day,” said her owner, Mark Severn, who farms at Barkisland, near Halifax.

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A few minutes later, the Princess was led to the president’s Lawn, where a rather larger and definitely more docile Shorthorn was waiting.

This was the original Georgian Craven Heifer, sculpted in wire by the Whitby artist, Emma Stothard, and now on permanent display at the showground. Bred at Bolton Abbey, the heifer was the largest cow ever to be shown in England.

As the trad jazz combo on the bandstand behind them played a jaunty arrangement of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Anne and Ms Stothard spent five minutes discussing the artistic merits of her sculpture and the relative merits of the Shorthorn compared with other breeds.

“She was interested in the butchery methods of those days compared to now,” Ms Stothard said afterwards. “She is extremely knowledgeable about the various cuts, the leanness of the meat, and the hygiene.”

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The artist was not unused to exchanging smalltalk with royalty. A beneficiary of a grant from the Prince’s Trust when she began work, she has since exhibited at Highgrove.

Anne admired another of her works, a giant hare fashioned in strands of willow. She might not have heard it, but an hour earlier, it was the adjective a woman in the crowd had used to describe the Princess herself.

“She’s like a willow, isn’t she?” said the spectator as Anne stepped out of a black Range Rover, sporting a beige jacket with fawn skirt, matching bag and her trademark sunglasses. She accepted a posy from seven-year-old Adele Zebrauskaite, whose father, Darius, works in the show’s finance and IT department.

She was led by the Show Director, Charles Mills, to a “military village” run by 4 Battalion of the Army’s Yorkshire Regiment, with the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Bernard Bateman, in tow.

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“I was glad to see she spent so much time with the Army,” he said. “The military brings £800m year to North Yorkshire.”

Under the Mayor’s arm as he spoke was a large stuffed animal, handed him by a stall holder as a donation to his charity.

The Princess made her way to the cattle lines as the strains of Jerusalem from the soprano Lizzie Jones in the main ring floated overhead.

It had been arranged for her to inspect the champion Charolois, Shorthorn and Simmental, who had been crowned on Tuesday at their respective national shows.

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Doing her best to ignore the Shorthorn’s short temper, she chatted to the handlers and owners but, diplomatically, did not mention butchery.

“She never says much,” noted Jimmy Wood, from Preston, owner of the champion Simmental.

The champions were dressed in yesterday’s rosettes, but it was the cattle groups with which yesterday’s judge, the kilted Donald Biggar was concerned. He judged the Limousins first, Simmentals second and Shorthorns third.

Perhaps for that reason, the Shorthorn,

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