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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, takes on new royal role from Queen’s cousin and confidante

Sophie Wessex supporting women 'without a voice' says Scobie

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Sophie paired up with Princess Alexandra yesterday in a rare joint visit to the charity Guide Dogs. And the reason behind this collaboration was revealed during the event.

The 84-year-old Queen’s cousin, who has been the patron of Guide Dogs for almost seven decades, officially handed over this role to Sophie.

Guide Dogs Chairman Jamie Hambro thanked Princess Alexandra for her contribution and commitment to the charity.

He said: “We are incredibly honoured to mark and to thank in person, Princess Alexandra, for her wonderful contribution over the last sixty-seven years, first as our President, then since 1957 as our Patron.

“We hope she feels proud of the organisation that has flourished under her patronage. 

“From our first four guide dog owners back in 1931, we are now helping thousands of people with sight loss, of all ages, to enjoy freedom and independence.”

Speaking about Sophie’s new patronage, the chairman added: “We’re looking forward to working with our new patron to continue to highlight our work which enables people living with sight loss to live the lives they choose.”

This new role perfectly fits in with the work carried out over the past two decades by Sophie.

The Countess has been supporting for decades organisations working on preventable blindness and in support to the visually impaired. 

Just earlier this week, Sophie supported Vision Foundation by piloting a tandem bike around London’s Bushy Park.

Sophie already created a bond with Guide Dogs in 2019, when she visited its centre in Forfar, Scotland, with Prince Edward.

The couple caught up with this branch of the charity earlier this year during a series of remote engagements with charities based north of the border.

During the engagement, Princess Alexandra and Sophie officially opened the new Guide Dogs South West regional centre in Bristol. 

And they appeared to enjoy their time at the centre speaking with staff and volunteers and getting to know some of the trained dogs.

This year marks the 90th year since Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond organised the training of four guide dogs in a garage in Merseyside.

Ever since, Guide Dogs has grown to become the world’s largest breeder and trainer of working dogs, and it has supported more than 36,000 visually impaired people since 1931.

The group is a founding member of the International Guide Dogs Foundation, an organisation gathering dog guide groups from across the world. 

Sophie joined the Royal Family in 1999, upon marrying Prince Edward.

The couple, who on their wedding day became the Earl and Countess of Wessex, has two children – Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn.

Lady Louise took part on Sunday in the carriage riding competition at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

The 17-year-old rode late Prince Philip’s carriage and ponies, which she is believed to have inherited. 

The teenager performed in front of her parents and a delighted Queen.

This was not the first time Lady Louise competed at the UK’s largest outdoor horse show.

In 2019, she finished in third place at the event, under the gaze of proud Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip – who took up carriage riding in his 50s.   

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