The Countess of Wessex told Lincolnshire nurses how ‘happy’ she was for her 89-year-old father, Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones, after he received the COVID-19 vaccine. Sophie was speaking to NHS staff about their work in battling the disease on a video call last week.
Sophie admitted the news was ‘a huge weight off my [her] mind’ as she joined the Lincolnshire General Practice Nurse and Health Care Assistant virtual conference. The Countess of Wessex attended the conference on the morning of her 56th birthday.
“I had a very wonderful birthday present yesterday” she said. “It was an early birthday present because my father received his vaccine. He’s 89 years old and I’m so happy he’s actually got it. It’s a huge weight off my mind.”
Prince Edward’s wife continued: “And he was full of praise for the way that it had been handled, and how quick and easy and simple the whole process was.
“I know that wouldn’t be happening without the care and attention of the nurses out in general surgeries.”
The Queen’s daughter-in-law applauded healthcare staff for their efforts during the pandemic. She also highlighted the important role they played in delivering the vaccine to the public.
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The Countess of Wessex pictured with her father, Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones, at the Ascot Racecourse in 2013
“Thank you so much to all of you,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what part of the system you’re working in, whether you’re general practitioner nurses, whether you’re healthcare assistants.”
“We all know how much this pandemic has put on you and we’re hugely grateful for all of your hard work.”
Thank you to HRH The Countess of Wessex who surprised Lincolnshire nurses and healthcare assistants at @HubLincolnshire virtual conference yesterday and thanked staff in the county for their efforts during the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/5bzghZLq7D
— NHS Midlands (@NHSMidlands) January 22, 2021
Lisa Freeman, Director of Nursing at Lincolnshire Training Hub commented on The Countess of Wessex appearing at the virtual conference. “To have such a high profile visitor attend our conference and recognise all of the hard work which goes on with nursing teams in Lincolnshire General Practice has provided a much needed boost to our workforce. We have all headed into the practices today with a spring in our step.”
Susan McElnea, Director at Lincolnshire Training Hub said: “We were absolutely honoured to have HRH The Countess of Wessex attend our conference. We are conscious that our resilient Nursing Teams are working extremely hard in General Practice and at the Covid Vaccine sites and are delighted that they received such high praise from the Countess.”
The virtual visit comes weeks after Buckingham Palace confirmed the news The Queen and Prince Philip had received their Covid-19 vaccinations. The royal couple were part of one of the vulnerable priority groups to be given the injections first in the UK.