Busy day in Essex for Sophie – fetal medicine unit, horse sanctuary & fishing boats

Today was a busy day of engagements for The Countess of Wessex, with visits to her patronages filling a day trip to Essex. Sophie visited Kypros Nicolaides Foetal Medicine Unit, Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary and the Association of Sail Training Organisations.

Today’s first engagement took place in Southend University Hospital, where Sophie visited the foetal medicine unit. This is a charitable organisation whose profits benefit The Fetal Medicine Foundation. Offering services such as ultrasounds, blood tests and counselling, the unit’s doctors are all trained by Professor Kypros Nicolaides, a leading expert in foetal surgery in the womb, originally from Cyprus.


There have sadly been very few photos from the Countess’ day.

It was then on to the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary for Sophie, a centre offering care and rehabilitation services to various animals, including ponies, cows and sheep.

Patron of the charity since 2013, this was The Countess’ third visit to the sanctuary in Ingatestone. Like many of the Royal Family, the Countess has a passion for animals and their welfare.

Sophie then paid a visit to another of her patronages, which aims to educate the British public on the benefits of sail training: Association of Sail Training Organisations.  In fact, the UK fleet is largely dependent on charitable support, given that it is funded by over 30 charities.


During her visit to Brightlingsea, Sophie launched the historic fishing boat ‘Priscilla’, in which she poured champagne over the hull.

The sailing smack (ship) has been restored over a four-year period by apprentice shipwrights. The Priscilla is actually the oldest surviving vessel built by the Stone Brothers boat yard, and today’s launch took place just metres from where the boat was originally constructed.

In addition to launching the vessel, Sophie was also invited to tour the smack.  The Countess took the time to speak to local schoolchildren, as well as the Harbour Commissioner and Master.

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