1. ITV Report

Charles’ red squirrel ‘infatuation’ revealed in Country Life magazine

The Prince of Wales talks about his passion for red squirrels in Country Life Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

The Prince of Wales has spoken of his passion for cooking grouse and how he lets red squirrels run around his home.

Charles has edited the latest edition of Country Life and reveals in the magazine how he leaves nuts for the “incredibly special creatures” to find in his jacket pockets.

He has created a variation on the famous Greek dish moussaka substituting grouse for lamb and calling it “groussaka” – and talks to his rare breed turkeys.

Despite being endangered in England red squirrels populate large parts of Scotland and Charles describes how they visit his Birkhall home on the Queen’s Balmoral estate.

Charles with a red squirrel at his Birkhall home on the Balmoral Estate Credit: Sue Crawford/Clarence House

Writing in the magazine the prince, who is patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, says: “They come into the house at Birkhall and we get them chasing each other round and round the inside.

“If I sit here quietly, they will do so around me. Sometimes when I leave my jackets on a chair with nuts in the pockets, I see them with their tails sticking out, as they hunt for nuts – they are incredibly special creatures.”

Grey squirrels, which arrived from North America in the 19th century, now outnumber native red squirrels by more than 15 to one.

They have out-competed the reds for resources and food and carry a disease which affects their smaller neighbours.

William is interviewed for Country Life and says about his father’s love of the mammals: “He is completely infatuated by the red squirrels that live around the estate in Scotland – to the extent that he’s given them names and is allowing them into the house!”

Charles is a supporter of country crafts Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA

Charles also talks about his love of food at the end of an article about one of his favourite recipes, pheasant crumble pie.

The prince says: “I got this recipe from someone I know. It is delicious.

“I invented a grouse one recently, Coq au vin with grouse, as well as moussaka with grouse, it doesn’t always have to be lamb, in other words groussaka!”

Rural heroes are featured by the heir to the throne in the magazine, from foresters to craft cheese makers.

Gail Sprake, Rare Breeds Survival Trust chairman, is highlighted and says Charles began keeping Crollwitzer turkeys after she asked him why he did not have turkeys at Dumfries House, the Scottish mansion he helped save.

She added: “I spotted the turkeys at a subsequent meeting and the prince shared with me that he enjoys feeding and talking to them – that told me that I was in the presence of a true rare breed enthusiast.”