Princess Michael of  Kent
Princess Michael of Kent has angered animal rights campaignersReuters

Princess Michael of Kent has angered animal rights groups after reportedly stating that animals do not have rights "because they don't pay taxes". The princess is said to have made the remarks at Henley Literary Festival during a discussion about her new novel, Agnes Sorel: Mistress Of Beauty.

"I'm a great animal lover and I'm involved in a lot of conservation, but animals don't have rights. They don't have bank accounts. They don't vote," she said. "We have obligation. We have obligation to animals, but to say they have rights? They don't have rights. You only have rights if you pay your taxes. You earn your rights."

Her comments prompted comedy actor and 'animal avenger' Ricky Gervais to brand her a "waste of space."

Reacting on social media he told his 10million followers: "Animals might not pay taxes but they certainly work harder than this f****** waste of space."

Animal rights campaigners have branded the Princesses alleged comments "ignorant" and "daft" and have urged her to "exercise caution" before publicly expressing her views on the issue in future.

Elisa Allen, associate director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), told The Times: "PETA urges Princess Michael to study the subject, rather than making an off-the-cuff statement that reflects ignorance of the issue of what fundamental rights animals have, which do not include the right to drive a car or build up an overdraft.

"She should also exercise caution in opining at all on such issues, because her daft assessment would mean that children and certain classes of human beings are also not entitled to rights."

The princess has previously incurred the fury of animal rights campaigners over her love of fur coats.

Earlier, the 69-year-old, known as Princess Pushy, offended senior members of the royal family after she described the late Princess Diana as "uneducated" and the older royals as "boring." She made the controversial comments during an interview with disgraced newspaper tycoon Conrad Black to promote her historical novel The Queen of Four Kingdoms.