The Earl and Countess of Wessex got some sun last week, as they visited the Bahamas, Florida and the Cayman Islands for a 6-day trip relating to The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.
Pictures have been very sparse, and as far as we know, no UK outlets have reported on the couple’s tour.
Arriving in Nassau, the island’s capital, the couple were taken to dinner with members of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation World Fellowship, a global network concerned with the development of young people.
Prince Edward is a trustee and Sophie a Global Ambassador of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, and the pair regularly travel the world to hand out international gold awards.
Day 2 in the Bahamas:
The second day in Nassau saw the Countess pay a visit to the Governor General at Government House, also lunching with a small group of outstanding women of the local community.
Next it was to Garvin Tynes Primary School, to see its Centre for Autism, a cause Sophie supports back in the UK. The school hopes to ’empower students to excel to their maximum potential through continued education’, and Sophie gave a short speech in an assembly.
The Countess was guest of honour at a ground breaking ceremony for the Hearing Centre of the Bahamas. It is jointly run by The Red Cross Society and the Department of Education.
Meanwhile, Prince Edward also paid a visit to the Governor General, earlier in the morning than his wife.
He then travelled to St. Augustine College & C.V. Bethel Senior High School, to meet with participants of the award, who achieved bronze, silver and gold.
The Earl later attended Rangers’ Divisions, where he addressed Rangers of the unit who also take part in the Governor General’s Youth Award, an associated award to the DofE award. Around 100 youths take part in this across the island. Lunch was taken at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Headquarters.
That evening, the couple regrouped and attended a reception for young people who have achieved the Gold Standard at Queen’s College. The Prime Minister, Perry Christie, and other dignitaries were also guests.
— International Award (@intaward) March 6, 2016
A private dinner was held for the Earl and Countess at the Royal Nassau Sailing Club, hosted by Cameron Symonette, a member of the World Fellowship.
Day 3 in the Bahamas:
Prince Edward and Sophie visited Forest Heights Academy at Abaco, where they met GGYA participants. They toured the facility and reviewed presentations by students during a rally, and were treated to a performance of Junkanoo, a carnival style dance with bright costumes.
— International Award (@intaward) March 10, 2016
Another private lunch was hosted by an honorary trustee and member, Ian Fair, and for dinner it was a gala in aid of the GGYA at the British Colonial Hilton.
Day 4 – to Florida:
The Earl and Countess of Wessex left the Bahamas for the airport, and landed in Florida a few hours later. It was straight to a World Fellowship Garden Party at Palm Beach for the International Award.
The day’s work wasn’t too intense, as the only other engagement that day was a dinner later that evening. The couple were guests at a fundraising dinner to support of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. Here, Prince Edward made a speech.
Day 5 – the Cayman Islands:
Another plane journey saw Edward and Sophie reach the Cayman Islands. They accepted the Royal Salute from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Honour Guard at the airport.
— Cayman Government (@caymangovt) March 6, 2016
It was to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI), of which the Earl is patron, for the couple. The organisation hopes to protect the life in the seas, including coral reefs, through research, conservation, and education.
The pair met with students who study at the facility, to learn more about their work to protect the oceans and their ecosystems. It is interesting to note that Prince Edward was described as ‘a truly active patron’ by the organisation’s president, another example of the unsung work of The Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Edward and Sophie attended a dinner for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute that evening. They stayed on the island for the night.
Day 6 in the Caymans:
The couple began their morning with a reception for the CCMI, before heading separate ways: Edward had lunch at Government House, while Sophie went to The National Gallery as global ambassador of 100 Women in Hedge Funds’ Next Generation Initiatives.
— Governor’s Office KY (@CIGovOff) March 7, 2016
In a short speech at the luncheon, the Countess said: “I hope that every young woman that comes into the financial services industry here is going to take full advantage of what you have to offer; of what we have to offer to our next generations.” She has officially supported getting more women into the financial industry since November last year.
The couple landed back at Heathrow earlier this week, on 8th March.
HRH Countess of Wessex blog also gave us some information regarding the trip.