Today, Sophie, Countess of Wessex attended the Hampton Court Flower Show with her patronage, Blind Veterans UK, before heading to Baston House School.
Sophie travelled out to Kingston-upon-Thames to visit the Hampton Court Flower show ahead of its official opening tomorrow.
The Countess was shown the flower show’s sensory garden, designed for those who are partially-sighted or blind. As patron of Blind Veterans UK, the charity responsible for the garden, the Countess was accompanied by former veterans as she toured the garden, which is based on the theme ‘it’s all about community’.
One of the garden’s designers, Dan Bowyer, described the aim of the garden: “It is not the traditional idea of a ‘sensory’ garden for vision impairment but celebrates the ability, activity and vibrancy of the blind veterans the charity supports.”
In addition to flowers, designers Bowyer and Andrew Fisher Tomlin chose to also feature stone, oak and willow.
Throughout the visit, Sophie was visibly in high spirits as she spoke animatedly to veterans and staff, while admiring the flowers, as well as non-traditional features, including a scarecrow!
The Countess then visited Baston House School in Bromley, in a visit related to another patronage, the London Children’s Flower Society. The Queen Mother was patron of this organisation until her death in 2002, before The Countess of Wessex took up the position in 2004.
Baston House School is one of 200 schools supported by the London Children’s Flower Society, and they even won the Society’s Alice Street Trophy in 2016.
As Baston House is designed for children on the autistic spectrum, the school has various activities to support their needs, including chicken coops and a vegetable patch.
During her visit, Sophie participated in these activities, collecting eggs and picking beetroot from the school’s gardens. The Countess of Wessex also took a keen interest in the school chickens, crouching to take a closer look at the birds.
Displaying her easy-going nature, Sophie chatted with the students in a relaxed manner, even pausing to take selfies, no doubt leaving the children with special memories of their royal visitor.