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Sophie Wessex and Prince Edward pay poignant tribute to Captain Tom Moore

Sophie Wessex and Edward: Expert expects to see more of couple

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The royals were given a tour of a new “wellbeing garden” space at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey where they thanked staff for their heroic efforts during the Covid pandemic. The Queen’s son and his wife were pictured in a newly opened green area which bears a touching tribute to Captain Sir Tom. The ornament is inscribed with his now-famous phrase: “Tomorrow will be a good day.”

Cash raised by the 100-year-old, who passed away in February, funded the refurbishment.

The royal couple’s visit on Wednesday marked International Nurses Day.

The hospital bears a special place in Edward and Sophie’s hearts as both their children were born there.

The Countess gave birth to Lady Louise at the site in November 2003 while James arrived in December 2007.

Lorna Wilkinson, chief of nursing and midwifery at Frimley Health NHS foundation trust, said: “It is an honour to have The Earl and Countess of Wessex visit Frimley Park Hospital and pay tribute to the work of our nurses across the trust.

“I am extremely proud of what our nurses have achieved and the commitment and the dedication they have shown to patients during the pandemic.”

One nurse who spoke to the royal couple said they seemed “very interested” in how hospital staff have coped throughout the public health crisis.

Tracey Coulson, the lead nurse on the hospital’s vaccine programme, explained: “It was a real privilege to meet The Earl and Countess.

“They were very interested to know how we have all coped during the pandemic and were extremely thankful to all of our nurses for the challenges they have faced.”

Diane Dodsworth, MBE, who leads the critical care nursing staff across the trust’s sites, added: “Our work during the past year has been a true team effort so while we feel lucky to have met the royal couple in person.

“We will also be passing on those thanks to every single one of our nursing colleagues.”

Edward, 57, and Sophie, 56, were tipped to be elevated to more prominent royal roles last year when Prince Harry and Meghan stepped down.

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But as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex departed for their new life abroad, the Covid pandemic set causing a host of royal engagements to be cancelled.

This made it difficult for royal analysts to conclude if the Queen had in fact boosted the profile of the Wessexes.

But in a clear sign of her approval of Edward and Sophie’s work on her behalf, the family were given a prominent position in the chapel for Prince Philip’s funeral.

Sophie was seated directly across from the monarch as the royals bid farewell to their patriarch.

In April royal author Penny Junor said the couple have been quietly carrying out successful engagements over the past few years and their popularity has increased as a result.

She told Express.co.uk: “There’s a lot of work involved with charities and there are thousands of charities and thousands that the Royal Family are patrons of.

“So inevitably losing Harry and Meghan means that the work needs to be shared a bit.

“We do have some very competent members of the Royal Family who have not always been quite at the forefront.

“And I would say the Wessexes will certainly fall into that category.

“Edward and Sophie have been quietly doing good things in the background and now because there is a vacuum where Harry and Meghan once were.”

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