In Shadow and Solemnity

To this day, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh maintains that his views on shooting, which form the foundations of his position as custodian of the countryside, are based on his extended and continuing experiences at the Sandringham Estate. The Duke frequently invites sporting friends to the Royal Family's 20,000-acre Norfolk estate whilst The Queen often accompanies the Duke on pheasant shoots. Prince Charles and the Princess Royal have organised competitions in which they lead rival shooting parties and it seems the royal passion will not dim with a new generation. Prince William is said to prefer shooting to any other sport, while Prince Andrew took his daughter Beatrice on a shoot when she was six.

The Sandringham Estate, which provides employment to over 200 people, is a commercial estate like Balmoral managed privately on The Queen's behalf. Sandringham House, the museum and the grounds are open to visitors. It also hosts the Sandringham Game & Country Fair which is in its fifth year and in keeping with the association of gundogs and the Sandringham Estate highlights the finals of the Gundog Multiscurry along with several other dog events. Sandringham Estate is The Queen's private estate and The Duke of Edinburgh took on overall responsibility for its management at the start of Her Majesty's reign in 1952.

One of His Royal Highness's principles has been to maintain the estate for future generations, so conservation has always been an important part of the Estate's management practices.  Over five thousand trees and several miles of hedges are planted each year, ten wetland areas have been created, sympathetic farming practices encourage many different species of wildlife, and food waste, glass, metals, plastic, cardboard and paper are all recycled.

Over 200 people gain their living from the Estate, including farmers, foresters, gamekeepers and gardeners, as well as in the visitor business and at the sawmill and the apple juice pressing plant.

In addition to the activities of the Estate itself, tenants of Estate land and properties run businesses ranging from arable and stock farming to property companies and building design.  The Estate works hard to help local farms and businesses maximise their opportunities and to help sustain the local rural economy through diversification and co-operation.

On Wednesday, 4th July the Olympic Torch will be coming to Sandringham, and entry to the Gardens will be free of charge all day, to enable as many people as possible to see the Torch in such a hamdsome and exquisite setting.