Duchess Sophie carries out engagements in Wiltshire

She got to see how communities were being enhanced by education and small businesses

On Friday, The Duchess of Edinburgh carried out a number of engagements in Wiltshire.

As an advocate for supporting young people with additional needs, Sophie’s first visit was to the Gul Outdoor Therapy Centre.

Duchess Sophie visits Gul Outdoor Therapy Centre. (Royal Family)

The Centre was founded in 2003 by a church community and provides outdoor therapeutic activities, including Equine Facilitated Interventions (using horses and associated activities to improve well-being) as well as outdoor education, navigation, work placements, apprenticeships, and gardening.

The Duchess spent time with staff, local school children and some of the horses, including two Balmoral ponies named William and Tiger. Her love of horses is a passion she shared with her late mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. 

CEO and Director of Therapy at the Centre, Dr Celia Grummit, said: ‘I loved the way she [Sophie] interacted with the ponies – she clearly knows ponies very well. But of course, when you then see her with the young people it is hard not to notice her heart for them.

‘We were talking quite a bit about enabling young people to go forward with their lives and to learn skills at places like this, which they can then use to go out and be successful in the world.’

The Duchess of Edinburgh visited Salisbury Guildhall and was greeted by local schoolchildren. (Royal Family)

Later at Salisbury Guildhall, the Duchess was welcomed by schoolchildren, residents, and visitors from the local community to celebrate the multi-faith community of Salisbury. The visit also marked The Mayor of Salisbury’s installation as the city’s first Bangladeshi Mayor.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton – also one of Queen Camilla’s companions – said: ‘It was a pleasure to welcome HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh to Wiltshire and everyone at the various venues in Shrewton, Salisbury, Downton and Bulford was delighted to meet her.’

During the visit, Sophie unveiled a plaque on a tree, which will be planted in the Autumn at Queen Elizabeth Gardens.

Sophie at Stable and Wick Bakery and Farm Shop. (Royal Family)

HRH’s final stop was to the Stable and Wick Bakery and Farm Shop, where she met staff and toured the facility, which started during the pandemic.

Sophie had the opportunity to hear how agriculture, farming and environmental stewardship is working and meeting the needs of the local community.

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