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Duchess Sophie shares rare video message as she returns from glamorous ski trip

The Duchess of Edinburgh spoke about the conflict in Ukraine

Duchess of Edinburgh wearing teal dress to meet Ukrainian community in Edinburgh© Getty
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
March 4, 2024
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The Duchess of Edinburgh delivered a moving video message to Ukraine, urging people to "never forget the survivors" of conflict-related sexual violence.

Sophie was invited to address the Restoration of the Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Survivors’ Rights Conference, Ukraine by First Lady of Ukraine, Mrs Olena Zelenska, and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Speaking from her home at Bagshot Park in Surrey, Sophie said: "The scale of the challenge that conflict-related sexual violence presents around the world, from Myanmar to Ethiopia, from Colombia to Sudan, the current crisis in the Middle East to Ukraine, both from past and present conflicts, is enormous.

"Sadly, the landscape seems to be getting worse. As we gather here today, thousands of women, men, boys and girls are being subjected to sexual violence in order to demean, over-power and destroy."

Hear more from the Duchess' message by watching the clip below...

WATCH: Duchess Sophie shares moving message to Ukraine

Sophie added: "In Ukraine, female and male survivors have bravely recounted their experiences of the most appalling atrocities they have endured, since the start of the war in 2022. This conference is an important opportunity to ensure that those survivors are not forgotten, to shine a spotlight on their bravery and the need to ensure justice and accountability are upheld."

Sophie and Queeen Camilla with foreign royals and first lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska© Getty
Queen Camilla and Duchess Sophie with foreign royals and first lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska in 2022

The Duchess has long been a supporter of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS) and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). She carried out a four-day visit to Colombia at the request of the FCDO in relation to her work.

It comes after King Charles praised the "determination and strength" of the Ukrainian people in a message marking the second anniversary of Russia's invasion on 24 February.

Queen Camilla also met Ukraine's First Lady at Clarence House, where the pair discussed the impact of the war on women and children, the mental and physical scars it has left, and how the UK can assist in caring for them.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will resume their public duties this week following a week-long ski trip at the glitzy Swiss resort of St Moritz, with their 20-year-old daughter, Lady Louise Windsor.

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