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Sophie Wessex takes her children James and Louise on family day out to the zoo

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Prince Edward and his wife the Countess of Wessex surprised royal watchers when they brought their children to a royal engagement on Thursday. The couple, who rarely involve young Louise and James in official duties, were more than happy to take their son and daughter on the family-friendly outing – a trip to the Bristol Zoo.

As the patron of the Bristol Zoological Society, Prince Edward was invited to open the new Mahali Pori exhibit, accompanied by his wife Sophie. The royals decided to bring their youngsters along as they are on school holidays.

Lady Louise, 12, and eight-year-old James Viscount Severn looked particularly excited about the outdoorsy activity.


earl countess wessex4 © Photo: PA

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex took James and Louise to Bristol Zoo

The highlight came at the Madagascar part of the exhibit where Louise and James crouched down to feed some hungry lemurs and meerkats. As the animals scurried around them, the young royals giggled and handed out more food.

The new exhibit is located in Wild Place Project, an extension to Bristol Zoo. Edward had the honour of unveiling a plaque while three cheetahs Oscar, Brooke and Jake roamed in the enclosure behind him.

earl countess wessex1 © Photo: Twitter

The youngsters fed lemurs and meerkats in the new enclosure

The Prince and his wife Sophie usually carry out official engagements without their children, as the couple prefer to keep their brood out of the public eye.

Louise and James are usually spotted at larger family gatherings, such as days out at Ascot with the Queen, or the annual Easter Sunday service at Windsor Castle.

At the start of the children's Easter holidays, Louise was spotted walking to the church service next to her mum Sophie. The blonde youngster dressed in a powder pink coat and floral dress, while the Countess showed off her sartorial prowess in a chic winter coat that featured an oversized collar.

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