Yesterday, on The Earl of Wessex’s 56th birthday, Prince Edward and Sophie spent time in Essex visiting various organisations and businesses. This is the first joint-Wessex visit we have had in 2020.
For Prince Edward and Sophie, their first stop in Essex was the Heritage Centre at Foulness Island, Churchend. The centre documents the history of the local area, from natural history and wildlife, to archaeological finds, and photos from the last century.
Outside, the Earl was treated to the crowds singing ‘Happy Birthday’, and handed a giant yellow birthday card from a young local. Prince Edward was seen ‘elbow bumping’ some, rather than shake hands, thanks to the growing concerns for coronavirus; similarly, The Queen has now taken the decision to stop shaking hands. At 93, Her Majesty is in the high-risk group.
Their next visit was to West Mersea, to see The Company Shed and West Mersea Yacht Club; The Company Shed is renowned for its fresh seafood. They serve fresh fish right off the back of the trawlers that have just returned with their catch.
Unfortunately, little of that part of the day was covered; we will update if anything more comes to light!
Good to see a high tide doesn't stop @rhawardoysters meeting @thewessexes today. Hope HRH #EarlofWessex enjoyed his birthday on the Essex coast https://t.co/KobGamZUTN #WestMersea #Oysters #EssexFoodandDrink @RoyalFamily pic.twitter.com/QKicJWH6AV
— Invest ESSEX (@investessex) March 10, 2020
The royal couple finally visited Wilkin & Sons, also known as Tiptree, and their factory, where jams and preserves are made. They are one of the foremost names in the industry, and supply the palace.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex were joined on their visit by local dignitaries, including Colchester Mayor Nick Cope and his wife Elizabeth, Colchester Borough Council chief Adrian Pritchard, borough councillor John Elliot, parish councillor Roger Mannion and LEAF chairman Phillip Wynn. Sophie is honorary president of the group, Linking the Environment And Farming (LEAF).
After a tour of the factory, dressed in fetching protective clothing, Sophie and Edward had a go at helping in the creation of jam. The Countess was peeling oranges, and quality checking the fruit on the belt.
In honour of his big day, Prince Edward was presented wit a birthday cake made by one of the factory team; it was a book with the Earl’s coat of arms, and – of course – a jar of Tiptree jam!