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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rebecca Russell

Special award Sophie Wessex was given which cemented her place as the Queen's 'rock'

The public have seen The Queen's four children at a number of events following her death at Balmoral Castle on September 8.

These have included viewing the floral tributes around the UK, walking behind her coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall and mounting a vigil around her coffin on two separate occasions. However, another treasured member of the family who has been as constant presence is The Countess of Wessex.

Sophie was often referred to as The Queen's 'second daughter' owing to their incredibly close bond. Earlier this year she was granted a very special award by the late Queen which showed the level of respect Her Majesty had for her daughter-in-law.

The Countess of Wessex was given the honour earlier this year (Twitter)

The Countess of Wessex was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St John. The full name of the honour is the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and it was constituted in 1888.

Other current holders of the honour include Princess Anne, The Duke of Gloucester and Queen Noor of Jordan.

The Order of St John is best known for the health organisations it founded and continues to run, these include St John Ambulance and St John Eye Hospital Group.

When Sophie is not carrying out her official duties, her main areas of charitable interest include supporting young people with disabilities, eradicating avoidable blindness, agriculture, fashion and the prevention of sexual violence in conflicted areas.

The Countess of Wessex supports a number important causes (Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock)
The Countess of Wessex was frequently referred to as The Queen's 'second daughter' (UK Press via Getty Images)

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The Countess has travelled to several countries to raise and spread awareness for these organisations in her role as patron or global ambassador. Sophie undertook a visit to India and Qatar in honour of World Sight Day in 2013 to witness the global issues surrounding preventable blindness first-hand.

In 2019, she travelled to Kenya on International Women’s Day in aid of gender equality, girls’ education and the prevention of sexual violence.

Along with her husband, Sophie has taken up an important role in co-running the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. The Countess even undertook a 450-mile cycle ride from Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace as her Diamond Challenge for the scheme.

When Sophie is not working with her charities or out meeting members of the public she lives near to Windsor Castle at Bagshot Park in Surrey with her husband and two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

The family were incredibly close with The Queen (PA)

Following the death of Princess Margaret on February 9, 2002, the nation was left in shock - but no one more so than The Queen and The Queen Mother - who died at the age of 101 just seven weeks later.

The Queen and her younger sister were incredibly close and her death left behind a huge hole for the monarch. But it would seem that the bond has in part been filled by Sophie.

A royal aide explained to the Daily Mail in 2018: “[The Queen] talks to Sophie in the way she used to talk to Princess Margaret.

"Sophie has filled a terrible gap in the Queen’s life that was left when her sister and the Queen Mother died in 2002.” Another aide said: “She is like another daughter to Her Majesty, they are that close.”

Royal Expert Richard Kay wrote: “The Queen and the Countess also share a fascination with military history. Sophie loves listening to the Queen talk about great historical events, and the pair are sometimes gone for hours, pouring over ancient documents in the Royal Archives, which are kept at Windsor Castle.

“When Sophie visited the World War One and World War Two battlefields and cemeteries in France, she told the Queen all about what she had seen and what she felt.”

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