Princess Anne clashes with brother Charles as she praises GM crops and questions role of climate change

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
Anne and her brother have differing views on a number of environmental issues, it turns out. (Getty Images)

Princess Anne has clashed with her brother over farming methods as she said genetically modified crops have been an enormous advantage in some circumstances.

Anne, who turns 70 next month, will find herself at odds with her brother Prince Charles, who was an early pioneer of organic farming.

Her comments came in an interview to mark her milestone birthday on 15 August.

She told Women’s Weekly Australia: “It has been an enormous advantage in many parts of the world to use GM wisely for very specific environments. It makes it much more likely to be able to grow what you need.

“I have to remind people that rapeseed oil was only made non-toxic to humans by the Canadians after the Second World War by genetically modifying the plant. It's [ironically] quite popular with all those people who don't like GM.”

Asked whether she and Charles, who runs a farm at his Gloucestershire home of Highgrove House, have conversations about farming, she said: “Yes… occasionally, but rather short.”

Charles has previously spoken out against GM and is royal patron of the Soil Association, which campaigns against GM food.

Read more: Duchess of Cornwall chic in royal blue in new portrait released to mark 73rd birthday

Harry and Anne would disagree over climate change. (Getty Images)

She is also likely to find herself at odds with her brother, and her nephews Princes William and Harry, when it comes to the impact of climate change on the environment.

Charles, 71, and William, 38, have both linked climate change with the widespread bushfires in Australia which happened earlier this year.

But Anne has come to a different conclusion.

She said: “I don't even go down the climate change route.

“I think the way people manage ground is part of the discussion… Climate changes all the time. It has done so throughout the globe's history, so there's nothing new under the sun. Somehow, we've got to learn that our kind of life is changing. We've got to remember to respect what's out there and how to live with it.”

Read more: 100 things the Royal Family has done in 100 days of lockdown

Charles and Anne avoid farming as a topic of conversation, it seems. (WireImage)

Anne also gave her views on veganism, saying: “You can't have a world without livestock. They are a necessary and very constructive part of our expectation to feed ourselves.”

The princess is a working royal, and continues to carry out hundreds of engagements each year.

She was carrying out in-person engagements right up until lockdown in the UK, and returned to them promptly as the younger members were able to get back to duties.

She often drives herself to engagements, and tries to pack as many as she can into one day.

The princess lives on Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire with her second husband, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, who she married in 1992.

She has two children, and four grandchildren.