On Friday, The Countess of Wessex was in attendance at The Sovereign’s Parade, an important tradition which is held at Sandhurst Military Academy.
Sophie was there to represent her mother-in-law; other Royal Family members who have had this honour in the past include The Duke of Cambridge and his brother The Duke of Sussex, while Sophie has herself previously represented the Monarch at this event.
The Parade takes place three times a year to mark the ‘Passing Out’ of the cadets who have trained there. The Sovereign’s Parade was first held in 1948 in the presence of The Queen’s father, King George VI.
Notable Sandhurst alumni include Princes William and Harry, singer James Blunt and Sir Winston Churchill, as well as members of other monarchies, such as the Spanish and Jordanian Royal Families and the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg.
As part of her duties, The Countess of Wessex inspected the members of the Parade – some 690 cadets in all, including 71 women. Of those 690 cadets, 243 were ‘passing out’, marking the end of their training at Sandhurst.
The Queen’s daughter-in-law also took the traditional salute.
You can read about the Countess’ outfit for the day over at our sister site, here.
After the Parade, Sophie presented various awards to some of the soldiers, including medals for Long Service and Good Conduct, as well as The Sword of Honour. She was introduced to families of the medal winners as well; Sophie was her normal bubbly self as she spoke animatedly to the various cadets and their families during Friday’s event.
Joining the Countess at the Parade were His Majesty the Yang di–Pertuan Agong and Her Majesty Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia; their son, Officer Cadet Shah, took part in the Parade. Another royal figure in attendance was Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir of Qatar, with three of his relatives having passed out from Sandhurst. There were also various ambassadors and high commissioners present at this important event.
Sophie also gave a speech at the event, acknowledging that the cadets must have been feeling: “A mix of emotions. Nerves, excitement, exhilaration, pride, relief, and exhaustion. All of these feelings are justified.”
The Countess of Wessex went on to congratulate those who were passing out at the Parade, and also encouraged them to “treat all who you command with respect, humility, loyalty and kindness, because if you get these fundamentals right they will be repaid to you in spades.”
The Queen’s daughter-in-law also used her speech to remember those who have previously passed through the Sandhurst Academy, adding: “think of the thousands of officers who have gone before you; those who fought and survived, those who fought and died in the many campaigns since Sandhurst began in 1801”.
The Countess of Wessex is no stranger to these events as she holds various military appointments. Amongst her many other patronages and charitable associations, Sophie is Royal Colonel of 5th Battalion The Rifles, Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of Army Music and of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.