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The Queen celebrates Countess of Wessex's birthday with stunning snapshot

Sophie shares a special bond with the monarch

Gemma Strong

The Queen has long had a special bond with her daughter-in-law, the Countess of Wessex. In celebration of Sophie's 55th birthday on Monday, a touching post was shared on the monarch's official Instagram page, featuring a stunning snapshot of Sophie. The image shows the smiling Countess on an official engagement, holding a flower made from tartan fabric. "Happy Birthday to HRH The Countess of Wessex! #HappyBirthdayHRH," the accompanying message read.

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A birthday tribute to the Countess of Wessex has been shared on the Royal Family Instagram page

Sophie will be celebrating her birthday at Buckingham Palace on Monday evening, where she will join her husband Prince Edward, Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a royal reception to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit, hosted on behalf of the Queen by William and Kate. The couple will formally receive the Heads of State and Government and their partners at the reception, followed by a group photograph of them with the Duke and Duchess alongside Sophie, Edward, and Princess Anne. Their royal highnesses will then join a reception in the state rooms of Buckingham Palace where William will make a short speech.

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The Countess of Wessex's style file

Sophie's strong bond with the Queen was highlighted in October last year when she made a speech at a glittering reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the success of the Diamond Jubilee Trust. The Countess, who has been campaigning to improve eye health worldwide since 2000, spoke in front of 200 guests and addressed the Queen, saying: "I feel in a way that I have been your eyes, having travelled to Malawi, Bangladesh and India to see the work of the Trust first-hand, witnessing the ambitious initiatives being carried out in Your Majesty's name, and ensuring that the intended legacy would be real and long lasting. I am very happy to say that Your Majesty's honour has been more than upheld."

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Sophie enjoys a close bond with her mother-in-law, the Queen

Sophie, who looked elegant in white, then revealed her affectionate nickname for the Queen as she continued: "Mama, when I have returned from my travels I have been so proud to share with you the work I have witnessed being carried out under the umbrella of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and the care of so many people working so hard to save and cure sight."