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The Countess of Wessex returns to royal duties with overseas trip

Sophie is a Global Ambassador for IAPB

The Countess of Wessex is the first royal to carry out an overseas trip in 2022 having travelled to Qatar this week with global sight loss charity, Orbis.

Sophie, 56, who arrived at Hamad International Airport, Doha, on Monday, is carrying out engagements in her role as Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

The Countess will visit organisations and charities, and meet dignitaries who are championing crucial eye healthcare programmes, in support of the IAPB's '2030 in Sight' initiative.

READ: The Countess of Wessex said the sweetest thing about Prince Edward at their engagement announcement

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WATCH: Countess Sophie's adorable comment about Prince Edward at engagement announcement

The pandemic has created a backlog of vital eye treatments and surgeries around the world. The IAPB's campaign seeks to highlight the scale of avoidable blindness, and to promote a collaborative, global approach to ensuring eye care and rehabilitation facilities are available to everyone who needs them, wherever they are in the world.

Back in October, the Countess showed her support for World Sight Day's #LoveYourEyes campaign, visiting a London school that works with children and young people aged three to 19, who have special educational needs and learning disabilities, to see children having their eyes tested.

While in Qatar, Sophie will also meet Afghan women evacuees to learn more about the peacekeeping roles they play in their communities. The Countess has long been a supporter of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.

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The Wessexes attending church on Christmas Day

Sophie's trip comes ahead of her 57th birthday on 20 January. Both she and the Earl of Wessex have returned to their royal duties after their Christmas break. The couple attended a church service in Windsor on Christmas Day along with their children, Lady Louise Windsor, 18, and James, Viscount Severn, 14.

The Wessexes were also pictured attending a church service on 2 January at Sandringham, the Queen's Norfolk estate. The family-of-four reside at Bagshot Park in Surrey.

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