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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Josh Payne

Sophie plays steel drums as Wessexes receive friendly welcome in Antigua

PA Wire

The Countess of Wessex played the steel drums with secondary school pupils as she and Edward received a friendly welcome to the island of Antigua and Barbuda.

The country’s Prime Minister told the couple there would be no placards of protest on their visit, and hoped they would enjoy the hospitality of the island during their stay.

Sophie was invited to join in with a rendition of Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel during the pair’s engagement at Government House on Monday and received a small cheer at the end of her performance.

The Countess of Wessex plays the steel drums in the garden of Government House (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

The earl and countess then spoke to a number of local craftspeople, creatives and community groups – with the countess spending time speaking to women about their work towards female empowerment.

Edward and Sophie had a full day of engagements planned for Monday’s visit, including a trip to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium where they were meeting former West Indies cricketers.

On their arrival at VC Bird International Airport, the countess was given a bouquet of flowers by 10-year-old Tsuniyah Freeland and the pair were greeted by a guard of honour from the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force.

The Earl of Wessex inspects a guard of honour after arriving at VC Bird International Airport (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

The couple are scheduled to visit the National Sailing Academy later on Monday, where they will meet children who have benefitted from a programme which offers people with disabilities the opportunity to get involved with water activities.

To complete their tour of the island the earl and countess will visit Clarence House where they will plant a tree to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

They will also attend a reception in celebration of Antigua and Barbuda’s culture and traditions, and will learn about local delicacies and produce.

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