Countess of Wessex attends National Shire Horse Show & opens Girlguiding Centre

On Friday, The Countess of Wessex, attended the National Shire Horse Show in Stafford, and also opened the Girlguiding Centre in Welwyn Garden City; Sophie is patron of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) and president of the Girlguiding UK.

Sophie visited the world’s largest show for shire horses, the Shire Horse Society, as part of the 140th birthday celebrations at Stafford County Show Ground. The Shire Horse Society is the only charity that is devoted to the protection, preservation and promotion of this pure British breed of horse.

The Royal was taken on a tour of Bingley Hall at the show ground, where she some of the exhibitors who were showing off their horses – some of whose blood lines can be traced back centuries.

the countess of wessex greets shire horse Cotebrook Loch Anna at the National Shire Horse Show (royal family)

As a passionate horse rider herself, Sophie enjoyed some of the horses in action in the ring and awarded some of the awards to the winners.

A special vase has been commissioned by Moorcroft for the society’s 140th anniversary, and the Countess met the horse Cotebrook Loch Anna, two-time winner of the competition, and the owner.

Shire Horse Society secretary Victoria Clayton said: “We are thrilled that The Countess of Wessex is joining us during the first day of our three-day event, which is the world’s largest gathering of pedigree Shire horses. We are very much looking forward to explaining how we are working to preserve this wonderful breed of horse, which is still considered ‘at risk’.”

sophie hands out awards at the show (royal family)

Later, in her role as President of the Girlguiding Association, The Queen’s daughter-in-law officially opened the new Girlguiding Centre in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Girlguiding encompasses the Rainbows, Brownies, and Guides, and hopes to help girls develop the skills and confidence that they need to reach their potential, and become the young women that they want to be.

the countess of wessex opened a new girlguiding centre in hertfordshire (royal family)

The centre is for the benefit of the local group, and will be used for camping and sleepovers, community events and special occasions, meetings and training sessions.

Sophie – who became the organisation’s president in 2003, taking over the role after Princess Margaret’s death – unveiled a plaque on the wall of the building to mark the special occasion.

HRH also opened their HQ in London back in 2016, and Sophie was joined by her daughter, Lady Louise, who is a Brownie herself.

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