Duke of Edinburgh voices concerns over village life

The Duke of Edinburgh has delivered a damning assessment of country life, claiming villages are now simply populated by commuters and traditional shops have lost out to large retail centres.

Rural settlements have changed significantly from places where farm workers lived to providing second homes for those who are employed in towns and cities, the senior royal stated.

The Duke's comments were made in an extensive interview for the latest edition of Shooting Times & Country Magazine where he suggested the butcher and baker had been forced out of business by multi-stores.

The royal also criticised the agricultural industry, saying it was trying to create cattle that would produce more milk for less cow "like a hat-rack with an udder attached", while 'bizarrely' milk was cheaper than bottled water.

"The human population increase is very evident. There are so many more people living in the country and moving into the countryside.

"The country villages have changed from the sense of being places where people who were associated with the countryside were living and now most of them are second homes occupied by commuters," the Duke said.

The Prince of Wales has also voiced similar concerns in the past, commenting on the lack of affordable village housing for local people.

Speaking in Cumbria in 2006 he said this issue could threaten the very existence of rural communities.

Charles said: "Who will look after it all when villages are simply dormitories to commute from or temporary bolt holes from city living?"

The Duke also talked about the loss of rural businesses that he said were the mainstay of country life.

He said: "Villages used to have to be more or less self sufficient: they had a butcher, a baker, a shoemaker.

"Now that has all gone because of the way retailing is concentrated in big centres and multi-stores.

"So there has been a complete change in the population of the countryside."

Philip has a long held passion for conservation and environmental issues and takes a keen interest in how the royal estates are run.

He warned that some modern farming practices were having a negative effect on wildlife and that livestock breeding processes were also producing worrying results.

"They are constantly trying to produce cattle that will produce more milk and less cow - like a hat rack with an udder attached," he said.

"They can't really go on making such a travesty of an animal, there must be a limit to this.

"Even more ridiculous is the fact that milk is actually cheaper than bottled water. It seems quite bizarre to me."

The senior royal said the country's growing population was the "greatest problem for the future".

Philip said: "People go on about this carbon footprint, but they fail to realise that the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere is entirely dependent on the number of people living on the earth.

"There are now 60 million people living in this country and we are about the same land size as New Zealand. Their population is just over four million.

"This country had three million people in Elizabeth I's day."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?