Prince Edward, Sophie & children help with beach clean in Portsmouth

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were joined by their children on the beach today, as they helped with the Great British Beach Clean Up. Sophie also spoke of her own mini clean ups near the family home of Bagshot.

Lady Louise, 16, and James, 12, donned gloves and grabbed litters pickers for the job, all dressed down on Southsea Beach.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex with their children Louise and James on Southsea beach; the family did some litter picking (@RoyalFamily)

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The Great British Beach Clean is an annual event, organised by the Marine Conservation Society. This year, in light of the pandemic, people have been encouraged to run their own small, local cleans whilst keeping in line with current Government guidelines.

Prince Edward and Sophie were seen in gloves, holding litter bags to collect waste and rubbish from the shingled shore.

“It’s so important that we all get out to keep our communities clean,” the Countess said to the press, praising the work of campaigns like Keep Britain Tidy. “The trouble is that Covid has exacerbated the problem.

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Sophie commented that the use of PPE without instructions on proper disposal has been a problem (@RoyalFamily)

“But hopefully now that people are actually seeing it, that maybe it will make people more aware that we have all got to play our part and do something.”

Although the outing was a chance for a family laugh, with James poking his sister with the litter picker, and Louise laughing at her brother when he was given two left-handed gloves. “I knew there was something wrong with you,” she joked.

The 16-year-old spoke briefly to the press, discussing and the return and increase of single use plastics and PPE since the beginning of coronavirus in the UK, as well as her A-Levels; Louise is studying English, history, politics, and drama.

James, Viscount Severn shows his sister a piece of litter he has picked (@RoyalFamily)

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Lady Louise commented: “Everything has got worse this year because everyone has gone back to non-reusable, non-recyclable plastic cups.”

The Countess also mentioned the use of PPE and how that has had a negative effect on the environment.  “The medical profession, they know what to do [with PPE], [but] there is no information about how people should dispose of them.”

“Obviously we would want to encourage people to use these lovely reusable masks, but sometimes you can’t. It’s so difficult because councils are stretched at the moment.”

“We are lucky enough to live next door to a lovely forest,” Sophie said, “and I come back with handfuls of litter every time we go for a walk.”

Prince Edward and Sophie, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, take part in the Great British Beach Clean with their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, in Southsea

The Wessex family laugh after a litter picking session (@RoyalFamily)

She admitted her children would get annoyed, however: “They are always going, ‘Oh no Mummy, not again!’ and off I go into the bushes to get something else.”

Louise added: “I want to pick it up but then we don’t have bin bags. And then we don’t have gloves and you are not sure whether to touch it.”

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