The Countess of Wessex recently represented The King at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, where she took the salute at this year’s passing out parade. It was Sophie’s first visit to the college on 15th December.
The event saw a parade of over 200 future naval leaders pass out, after the completion of their training. The group consisted of 170 Royal Navy cadets, 30 officers from international navies and 17 cadets from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
The Countess told the newly graduated naval staff: ‘This is a big moment in your lives, the moment when you become serving officers in His Majesty’s Navy, the moment when you leave all the hard training behind you and take up the mantle of responsibility.
‘Until now you have been looking to others to guide you and show you the way. From now on, it is you who will be leading others. Leading – and leading well – takes skill.
‘Officers who stand out are those who put the men and women with whom they serve first and in doing so seem to foster bonds of loyalty, credibility and respect.’
She concluded: ‘A new generation of naval officers is born today. I hope you will be proud of what you have achieved and what you will go on to achieve.’
Her Royal Highness is the sponsor of Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring. She became Sponsor in 2006 where she launched the ship on the Clyde, and has followed the progress closely.
Last year, The Countess of Wessex visited HM Naval Base Portsmouth to meet the engineers and logisticians working on HMS Daring.
At the time, Lt Cdr Wyatt said: ‘The Countess of Wessex recognised the special efforts of the wider Defence enterprise, including the DE&S, BAE Systems and wider defence industry involved in delivering such a complex feat of engineering which will deliver Daring back to operational readiness.’