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May 18, 2009

In Memory of Princess Elizabeth de Croy: A Royal Ambassador of the Animals

Humane Society International

The world and more especially, the animals, lost a very special person this week with the death of Princess Elizabeth de Croy. A woman of great strength and character, Elizabeth could charm her way through any door, and she often did on behalf of animals.

More than 30 years ago, Princess de Croy, born into royalty as a descendant of the kings of Hungary, chose a life with animals. Saddened by the intense cruelty to animals she witnessed in France, she opened her home to animals and founded Defense et Protection des Animaux and Refuge de Thiernay. Thus began a lifetime of work dedicated to animal welfare, protection and care.

At the HSUS/HSI 2006 Animal Care Expo in Anaheim, California, the Princess received the HSI Award for Extraordinary Commitment and Achievement. This award recognizes animal protectionists around the world whose sensitivity and compassion have led them to exceptional levels of bravery and self-sacrifice as they strive to mitigate and prevent the suffering of animals brought about by neglect, cruelty and exploitation.

“I was honored to know and work with Elizabeth,” stated Kelly O’Meara, HSI Director of International Programs. "You could immediately sense her dedication and love for animals. For the last few decades, she traveled the world uncovering cruelties unimaginable to most people. She was an ambassador for animals, using her royal status to speak with important officials throughout the world about the plight of animals. She was also willing to get her hands dirty, as her day-to-day work involved caring for her shelter of abandoned animals, including more than 200 dogs, 100 cats and an array of farm animals."

HSI has supported the work of the Princess and her Refuge over the years, especially through annual sterilization clinics held at The Refuge. The Refuge also became a haven for animal victims involved in cruelty cases… cases Elizabeth and The Refuge staff often discovered and charged themselves. In her later years, the Princess became a strong advocate for prosecution (and enforcement) of these animal cruelty cases under French law.

Princess Elizabeth directly prevented and ended the suffering of countless animals throughout her life. Her compassionate heart and extremely important work will be remembered by all who knew and loved her.