The Countess of Wessex is a remarkable woman, her patronages span supporting people with disabilities to preventing sexual violence in areas on conflict. Another cause close to her heart, is eradicating avoidable blindness as patron of Vision and as a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. It’s important to the countess given her daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, suffered from esotropia, a type of eye misalignment, when she was a toddler. Thankfully she was able to have corrective – and successful – eye surgery.
The countess took over as patron of Guide Dogs from the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, in July, after 67 years. The Countess of Wessex and Princess Alexandra opened the new Guide Dogs South West regional centre in Bristol during a joint outing.
As part of Sophie’s new role as ambassador, she spent the afternoon with puppies undergoing training at the Guide Dogs National Centre in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. It’s difficult to say whether the puppies or the countess, who has two dogs of her own at Bagshot Park, enjoyed the visit more. The countess was photographed with trainee guide dog puppies licking her chin as well as making friends with a larger golden retriever who was trialling the hydrotherapy area.
This year, the charity is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the first guide dog partnership in 1931. Thanks to dedicated staff and volunteers – and vital donations – 36,000 lives have been transformed through a guide dog partnership since its conception.
Subscribe now to get 3 issues of Tatler for just £1, plus free home delivery and free instant access to the digital editions