While this year has been entirely different than what most everyone in the world was expecting, there have still been some incredible moments. I am all too aware of how difficult this year has been for so many people, especially frontline and healthcare workers, and the entire world owes them a deep debt of gratitude for the tireless work they have put in this year. However, I wanted to focus on the positive and celebrate some of my favorite moments from the few months of normalcy before the pandemic and the Royals response afterwards.
So here are my top ten favorite moments from the Countess of Wessex in 2020
10. Visit to Sierra Leone
At the beginning of the year, prior to the pandemic, the Countess of Wessex visited Sierra Leone to continue her work with the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative. She met with some of the country's forefront leaders on the issue as well working with students who are learning about Sexual and Gender Based Violence Prevention in order to try and stop the generational cycle that some women and girls find themselves in.
9. Hockey at the National Sports Centre with Lady Louise
Sophie has been patron of England Hockey since 2006 and has seemingly passed a love for the sport to her daughter, Lady Louise. The mother-daughter duo visited the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey to watch a training game. There have been a few occasions through the years where the Earl and Countess of Wessex have been joined by their children for an official engagement and it is always a joy to see their family dynamic. Lady Louise joined in on some practice exercises before joining Sophie on the sidelines to watch a training game and the pair seemed to have a wonderful time.
8. Remembrance Day
The Countess of Wessex joined the rest of the working Royal Family at the cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday for a socially distanced service. She shared a balcony with the Duchess of Cambridge, who she is supposed to be good friends with, and looked immaculate. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Remembrance Sunday was one of the only annual royal events that went forward, though it looked much different this year from previous years. However, any semblance of normalcy or tradition was very much appreciated after a very abnormal and challenging year.
7. Support for Carers and Parents
In the beginning of lockdown the Royals worked to quickly adapt to dramatically changing times. Before the Royals began zoom engagements or phone calls with charities, Sophie filmed a message of support and solidarity for Carers and Parents. While things were changing so quickly in late March and early April, many parents were struggling with how to help their children through the uncertainty. The Countess of Wessex shared resources and communities that were already forming to help parents and shared it in a video filmed by her daughter, Lady Louise.The Countesses message was among the first sightings of the Royal Family after lockdown and began to give a small glimpse into what their work might look like as everything went virtual.
6. Clapping for Carers
Almost every member of the royal family joined in for Clap for Carers, a social movement to show appreciation for frontline and essential workers. Every Thursday of the spring thousands of grateful U.K. citizens applauded workers from the front steps of their home, outside of hospitals, from their balconies or through their windows. The Earl and Countess of Wessex shared a video message of appreciation from their home at Bagshot Park where they were joined by their children, Lady Louise and James Viscount Severn.
5. Buckingham Palace Summit with the Cambridges
One of the few engagements before the pandemic, The Earl and Countess of Wessex joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace for a U.K.- Africa Investment Summit. The two couples have had a close relationship through the years and attended to show support for William and Catherine as it was their first time hosting a summit solo at Buckingham Palace.
4. Great British Beach Clean
This summer the Earl and Countess of Wessex were joined by Louise and James for a day at Southsea beach where they helped Southsea Beach watch volunteers for litter-picking and recording items for a beach survey. The past several years the Earl and Countess have been joined by their kids for an engagement that focuses on one of their charitable areas. Several members of the family have been advocating for environmental and sustainable ventures for years as they share a belief in the importance of the natural world. The Great British Beach Clean is an annual event through the conservation society. Due to Coronavirus, volunteers were encouraged to form small socially distanced groups to participate.
3. Zoom Call with the Queen
A longtime advocate for preventing avoidable blindness and having worked with blind veterans, the Countess of Wessex was joined by the Queen for a zoom call on World Sight Day. They spoke with healthcare professionals from around the commonwealth who specialize in eye care. Sophie and the Queen heard about the impact that their work has had on people from around the Commonwealth and how life-changing having access to eye-care can be for so many.
2. Family reunion at Windsor Castle
Following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Royal Train Tour, the working members of the family met at Windsor Castle to thank key workers. The family enjoyed music played by the Salvation Army UK Band. It was one of the only events fans were able to see the family together for throughout the year and, though it was socially distanced, it was so lovely to see them in the same place after an uncertain year filled with separation from loved ones. Family members present included Princess Anne, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and the Queen.
1. Volunteer Work throughout the Pandemic
The most incredible work that Sophie has done this year for me was her volunteer work throughout the pandemic. Working with local organizations, her patronages and national charities Sophie helped pack parcels, deliver food, provide essentials to NHS workers and make meals for vulnerable communities. She was one of the few working members of the family who was able to go out to assist during lockdown as she is not in a vulnerable age group like other members of the family and her children are both older and therefore able to complete school work, for the most part, without the help of their parents. Her volunteer work always brought hope and optimism even during the uncertainty and scariness of this year.
Though this year has been different than any other and I am as hopeful as anyone else that we will never have to repeat a year like this again, there were some definite bright spots. There was an increase in volunteers and donations throughout the country. Since everyone seemed desperate for good news, there were incredible and heartwarming stories shared of selflessness and hope. While we must all continue to do our part by wearing a mask and socially distancing until herd immunity is achieved, the vaccine has already begun being distributed in several countries which means there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I hope you all have a safe and healthy new year. xx