The Princess Royal is due to arrive in Devizes this morning the day after she expressed controversial views about gassing badgers and approving of genetically modified crops on a TV programme.

The Princess was interviewed at her Gatcombe Park home for the Countryfile programme which was broadcast yesterday evening.

In it she said that gassing was the most effective means of culling badgers, who have been blamed for spreading bovine tuberculosis among cattle, because they just “went to sleep”.

Animal welfare groups have condemned as inaccurate the Princess’s statement.

There is also concern over her views on GM foods, which she feels are essential if the farming community is to be able to feed the world. This is in direct opposition to the opinions expressed by her brother the Prince of Wales.

The Princess is to arrive in Devizes at midday today where she will board a narrowboat at the Town Bridge in Northgate Street for the 100-yard trip to the Wharf where she is due to present the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to volunteers from the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.

From there she will go to Wiltshire Museum to officially open the £750,000 Bronze Age galleries.

Finally, in her capacity as patron of Save the Children, she will meet members of the local branch of the charity, one of the oldest in the country, at a reception in the Assembly Room at the town hall.