Home Royal News Sophie opens Countess of Wessex Studios, attends meetings plus film premiere

Sophie opens Countess of Wessex Studios, attends meetings plus film premiere

by Katie Balfe

The Countess of Wessex was back for her second day of royal duties after half-term, which she took off to spend with her family in St Moritz. She spent the day in London, where she attended various meetings and events, all of which were – unusually – covered by The Royal Family Instagram account in various different videos.

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First stop of the day for Sophie was to the brand new ‘Countess of Wessex Studios’ in London, at the Central School of Ballet. The studios will act as new premises on the Southbank and Sophie was there to officially open it.

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The Central School of Ballet is one of Europe’s leading centres for dance training. The school, which was founded in 1982 by Ann Stannard and Christopher Gable, is an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama and is led by Director Heidi Hall and Artistic Director Christopher Marney. The school values artistic expression in dance, and highlights the the importance of technique. Sophie has been patron of the Central School of Ballet since 2003.

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The Countess was taken on a short tour of the new premises, where she viewed a dance demonstration by final year degree students. The students were very excited to speak with her and she took a few moments to ask them about their studies and the school.

Just after 11am, a plaque was unveiled to mark the opening of the new studios. The plaque will be displayed in the reception area of the building for all visitors, students and teachers to see. Even after all these years, it must still be surreal for Sophie to have something named after her!

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The Countess of Wessex opens The Countess of Wessex Studios at the Central School of Ballet. Picture by i-Images

It was then on to St James’s Palace for Sophie, who had a series of engagements in the place used by many Royals for receptions and, also, as offices while the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace takes place.

The Countess began a sitting for a portrait in the Throne Room at the Palace. The portrait is for St John’s Ambulance, a first aid and medical emergency services charity. The Countess of Wessex has been Grand President of the Charity since 2004.

St John’s Ambulance is a charity which “steps forward in the moments that matter, to save lives and keep communities safe.” All their work, providing first aid training, products and help, is entirely funded by donations.

An hour later and it was on to the next meeting of the day. The Countess sat down with representatives from The Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, of which she is Colonel in Chief and also patron.

Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps is the nursing branch of the British Army and part of the Army Medical Services. It was officially established by Royal Warrant in March 1902 as Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, Queen Alexandra became its president. In 1949 it became a corps in the British Army and was renamed.

The Countess of Wessex meets with staff from her patronage, The Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (royal family instagram)

Since 1950 the organisation has trained nurses, and in 1992 men were allowed to join. Queen Alexandra was President until her death in 1925, the following year she was succeeded by Queen Mary.

Following that meeting, the Countess held her last meeting for the day – with an Air Commodore from RAF Wittering. Sophie is Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Wittering and pays regular visits or has regular meetings to keep up to date on all their work.

All of Sophie’s work today was recorded and posted about on the Royal Family’s website as it happened. Something this writer hopes will continue, as it shows a lot of people who wouldn’t know just exactly how busy Sophie is.

This evening however, The Queen’s daughter in law was at Buckingham Palace, again with the Central School of Ballet, hosting a reception for them.

It was then onto the “Sulphur and White” premiere at The Curzon Mayfair. A special premiere screening was held tonight, in aid of the NSPCC, of which the Countess is patron. The movie tells the tail of city executive David Tait’s childhood abuse.

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During his childhood, David was abused by his father and also a local shopkeeper, his mother once witnessed the abuse but did nothing to prevent it from carrying on. He went on to become banking CEO and an ambassador and trustee for the NSPCC, until his life began to fall apart as he dealt with the trauma of the abuse he faced in his childhood.

David has raised over £1.5million for the NSPCC and has worked closely with Sophie, who is Patron of the organisation. Sophie invited David around to watch the film with him ahead of the premiere tonight and was left in tears by the story. While being interviewed at the event, David said that he had received “remarkable support from her and the charity”.

All of Sophie’s work today was recorded and posted about on the Royal Family’s website as it happened. Something this writer hopes will continue, as it shows a lot of people who wouldn’t know just exactly how busy Sophie is.

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