sophie-wessex

The Countess of Wessex to take on important new role during her visit to South Sudan

Sophie is the first royal to visit the country

Gemma Strong

The Countess of Wessex has long been an advocate for equality, using her position as a platform to promote important issues such as women’s rights. During her visit to South Sudan this week, Sophie will take on an incredibly important new role when she speaks to survivors of gender-based violence. The Countess is visiting the country – the first ever royal visit to South Sudan – to highlight the rights of women and girls through education, inclusivity at leadership level, and by tackling sexual and gender-based violence.

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Sophie has long championed the rights of women and young girls

Sophie – a mother of two – will spend time with survivors as they share their stories with the royal, and discuss the ongoing challenges faced by displaced women and girls. She will also join a conversation with men who are taking part in a programme to try and bring better gender equality into their homes and community.

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The Countess of Wessex's style file

Prince Edward's wife will also travel to the capital of Juba to meet with female political leaders and peacebuilders to discuss the importance of including more women in the implementation of the South Sudan peace process and in wider politics and decision-making. She will then visit a local school to learn about the effect of the ongoing humanitarian crisis on young people, and to see the UK's support for girls' education and the efforts being made to champion girls staying in education.

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Sophie arrived in South Sudan as part of an official visit undertaken on behalf of the Queen. The monarch has long had a special bond with her daughter-in-law, and in January a touching post was shared on the royal's official Instagram page in celebration of Sophie's 55th birthday. The image showed 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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Prince Edward and Sophie pictured with their children

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Of course, Sophie isn't the only royal currently on tour. Prince William and Kate are now on day two of a three-day visit to Ireland, which kicked off on Tuesday. The couple's first port of call was a meeting with the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, before they attended a commemorative ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance, where they laid a wreath. William and Kate then had an official meeting with the Taoiseach of Ireland, Leo Varadkar. On Tuesday night, the Duke and Duchess attended a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Ireland at the Guinness Storehouse's Gravity Bar.