Buckingham Palace's 'cruel' tradition to stay despite mounting pressure

Calls to change the Queen's guards' uniforms have been rejected by the UK government

Buckingham Palace's 'cruel' tradition to stay despite mounting pressure
(Image credit: Getty)

Calls to change Buckingham Palace guards' bearskin hats have been rejected by the UK government, over concerns the potential replacements do not look or feel right. 

An animal rights campaign to change Buckingham Palace guards' uniforms has been rejected, as the UK government says it has been unable to secure a suitable alternative. 

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that it will continue to use real fur to make the bearskin hats of the Queen's security troops after multiple failed attempts to find a cruelty-free replacement. 

The disappointing news comes after nearly 50,000 people signed a petition—launched by PETA and singer Alesha Dixon—demanding that Buckingham Palace ditch the animal pelts for faux fur. 


(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen's security units have worn tall, fur hats for over 200 years as part of their iconic red military attire. The longstanding tradition, which requires the slaughter of 20,000 wild Canadian black bears a year, has been contested on multiple occasions over the past two decades—with both MPs and animal rights organizations calling for an end to its practice. 

"For each of the caps used by the Queen’s Guard, a bear is cruelly killed by being shot or ensnared, sometimes for days, in a painful trap—and British people, a good 95% of whom object to killing animals for fur, are unwittingly paying for it through their taxes," PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said in a statement.

Queen's guards

(Image credit: Getty)

The Ministry of Defence says that it has tested four different synthetic furs to replace the bearskins since 2015, but none of them met the 'standard' of the ceremonial caps. 

This decision has been strongly condemned by multiple leaders in the animal rights movement, including Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International. 

“At a time when most of the British population rejects the cruelty of the fur trade, and after the Queen herself made the decision not to buy any new furs, the Ministry of Defence’s determination to keep using Canadian black bears for guards’ hats looks very out of touch," she told the Independent. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.