SOPHIE, COUNTESS OF WESSEX travelled to Africa this week for a two-day trip to champion women’s rights. This is how the dedicated royal has taken over what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left behind.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, represented the Queen as she travelled to Sierra Leone for a packed two-day trip. The Countess’s visit focussed on meeting community leaders and activists involved in tackling sexual and gender-based violence against girls and women. The Countess visit marks the first royal trip to Africa since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their final royal tour there in autumn.
While Meghan and Harry have said they will continue their charitable work in Africa they will no longer be able to do so in an official royal capacity, instead, their visits will be private ventures as opposed to state occasions.
From January 22 To January 23 the Countess of Wessex, who is a working royal, completed a string of engagements across Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
The programme of visits centred on addressing sexual and gender-based violence, supporting survivors, and championing women’s role in peace-building.
On Wednesday evening the Sophie gave a speech at a reception for UK partners at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Freetown.
Sophie Wessex news: How Sophie has taken over what Meghan Markle and Harry left behind (Image: GETTY)
Sophie Wessex news: During a two-day trip to Sierra Leone Sophie visited causes helping to tackle gender-based violence in the country (Image: PA)
On Thursday Sophie visited the Aberdeen Women’s Clinic in Freetown where she met doctors and staff as well as sexual violence survivor and activist Amira Kamara.
She also visited pupils and teachers at the Russell Technical Secondary School.
At the school, she joined students underneath a tree in the school playground to observe a life skills lesson which introduces students to the topic of sexual and gender-based violence.
She also attended a discussion with members of the school safety committee.
Sophie Wessex news: Sophie visited the Aberdeen Women’s Clinic in Freetown (Image: PA)
Sophie Wessex news: She met sexual violence survivor and activist Amira Kamara (Image: PA)
Sophie stopped by the capital’s King Tom Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where she walked among headstones and met some of the gardeners who maintain it.
The Countess of Wessex’s Africa trip closely aligns with causes which Meghan Markle championed during her visit to South Africa last autumn.
Meghan is a staunch defender of female rights and much of her time in South Africa was spent visiting organisations which champion women.
When Meghan and Harry were in South Africa the brutal murder of South African drama student Uyinene ‘Nene’ Mrwetyana was prevalent in the national news.
Meghan was so affected by the death she paid a visit to the shrine and left a moving message on a yellow ribbon which read: “We stand together in this situation. Harry & Meghan 26th September 2019.”
Africa has a special place in both Meghan and Harry’s hearts and the couple will continue with charitable work there following their step down as senior royals.
While Meghan and Harry are likely to visit Africa in the future they will no longer be able to travel there on behalf of the Queen.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex seems to have taken on the royal mantle of championing women’s rights in the continent, where Meghan and Harry left off.
Sophie Wessex news: Sophie addressed staff and pupils at Russell Technical Secondary School (Image: PA)
Sophie Wessex news: Sophie spent her birthday supporing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Image: GETTY)
Sophie marked her 55th birthday on Monday by honouring the Queen at a reception at Buckingham Palace.
The event was held to mark the UK-Africa Investment summit and hosted by Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William while the Queen remained in Sandringham for her winter break.
Prince Edward and Sophie supported the Cambridges with greeting African delegates at the special evening.
Following Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s step back from the fold, it seems likely other working royals will take up some the responsibilities they left behind.
While Harry and Meghan plan to continue honouring their patronages the matter of Harry’s old military titles will need to be addressed.
Prince Harry had to relinquish them as he ceased to become a working royal and it is yet to be confirmed who will take them on next.
One royal commentator has claimed Prince William is the most likely candidate to take over the titles from Harry.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: “The obvious choice for a successor is William who is Colonel of the Irish Guards.”
“Andrew currently remains Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, this is unlikely to last and Edward, who dropped out of the Royal Marines, is not a candidate.
“There seem to be too few senior royals to fill these posts.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK