MILLIONS of Brits toasted the easing of coronavirus lockdown conditions this week with a long-awaited visit to their local pub. And, it may come as a surprise, but Sophie Countess of Wessex, joined them – driving herself to a Surrey boozer as soon as coronavirus lockdown was lifted.
The Countess visited the Half Moon in Windlesham, Surrey, just a short distance from her residence at Bagshot Park. But her visit was a royal engagement in support of local commerce – and she didn’t touch a drop! As she arrived in her Jaguar, she was welcomed by a group of members of the local Women’s Institute who were having lunch in the pub garden.
The Countess joined them at their table, and pointing out a drink, she said: “I’m driving – otherwise I would have been joining you.
“On local engagements I drive myself most of the time.”
Sue Surman, 74, said the Countess had taken took a look at a glass of orange juice on the table and said: “I would have some champagne in that.”
The group then discussed face masks as one of the women, Jane Hurst, had been making them during the coronavirus lockdown.
Sophie Wessex drives to local pub for special visit (Image: Getty)
They also spoke about how much time they have spent on Zoom, a video call and online chat service, and Sophie mentioned how she wished she “had bought shares in it.”
The Countess said that wearing masks during lockdown was inconvenient when taking pictures with fans during engagements.
She said: “I’ve had so many places I’ve been to, especially if you stand with somebody and they say ‘Can I take a picture?’ You stand and smile, and of course you think, ‘I’m smiling, but what’s the point?’
“But you can see it still in the eyes. It takes a little bit of getting used to.
The Countess said that wearing masks during lockdown was inconvenient when taking pictures with fans during engagements (Image: Getty)
“I don’t know what ones I prefer. You’ve got slightly more surgical ones, and I’ve got some handmade ones as well.
“Some of them are thicker than others. You suddenly realise the thick ones are quite warm.”
The Countess bumped into a man she had met before, but it took her a while to realise where she knew him from.
Upon realising they went to the same gym, she said: “I’m not used to seeing you not in Lycra!”
Sophie Wessex sanitised her hands upon arrival to the venue (Image: Getty)
She later recognised someone else who had been a client of hers in her public relations days.
Richard Tear was the former chief executive of the caterers Searcy’s, whose site was based on Pavilion Road in Knightsbridge, London.
She said: “It’s such a special place. I had my 30th birthday there.”
Afterwards Mr Tear said: “The company was obviously in need of a good PR lady, and she was kind enough to take us on for a short period of time before she got married.
“She was absolutely brilliant. She still is.
The Countess then had a heartwarming moment with a puppy (Image: Getty)
“Her charm has not diminished. And she does not look a day older, unlike me.”
The Countess then had a heartwarming moment with a 15-week-old cocker spaniel puppy named Hendrix.
“You are gorgeous,” she told the puppy. “Can I just say you are really lucky you are on the end of a lead, otherwise I might take you home.”
Conrad Sturt, whose mother Helga bought the pub in 1971, described the moment they were told to shutter the pub “like a stab to the heart”.
He added: “The support of our locals, and our community, has been exceptional.
“We managed to do a takeaway and a collection service which has kept us going.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK