The Countess of Wessex has spent her birthday volunteering at an NHS vaccination centre in Surrey as part of her work with St John Ambulance.
Sophie, who turned 57 today, has been Grand President of the charity, which provides first-aid training, and disaster and humanitarian relief worldwide, since 2004.
During her shift, she was photographed working with fellow volunteers to greet patients, take their details, and look after their wellbeing.
This isn’t the first time the Countess has worked at one of the vaccination centres; she trained as a Care Volunteer last year before volunteering with the charity to help the Covid-19 jab rollout across the country.
The Countess of Wessex, who turned 57 today, marked her birthday by volunteering at a vaccination centre with St John Ambulance, of which she is the Grand President
During her shift, Sophie was spotted working with fellow volunteers to greet patients, take their details and look after their wellbeing
As well as being given birthday flowers from Sy John’s Ambulance, the Countess also received a sweet birthday message from her mother-in-law, the Queen
She was said to be eager to work in a practical way during the mass vaccination programme, which St John Ambulance is supporting, and is thought to proud to be part of the charity’s growing team of volunteers.
Speaking after her first vaccination centre outing, a St John Ambulance spokeswoman said: ‘Like many of our existing and long-standing volunteers, the Countess of Wessex has completed the required training to become a care volunteer in support of the NHS vaccination programme.
‘We’re delighted to welcome the Countess, as the Grand President of St John Ambulance, to a growing team of over 10,000 volunteers who are now trained and being deployed to NHS vaccination centres all over England, in an extraordinary collective effort to beat the pandemic.’
At the end of today’s shift, Sophie was given a pin badge which is given to all St John Ambulance personnel to thank them for their support with the vaccination programme. She was also gifted a bouquet of flowers to mark her birthday.
As well as receiving well wishes from her fellow volunteers, Sophie received greetings from her mother-in-law the Queen, via social media.
The Royal Family Instagram and Twitter accounts shared a photo of a beaming Sophie holding a Guide Dog puppy.
Showing the Countess in a white lab coat and floor-length purple dress, the image was captioned: ‘Wishing The Countess of Wessex a very Happy Birthday today!’, alongside a balloon emoji.
Sophie, pictured during her shift today, started volunteering with the Covid vaccine rollout last year, as she was eager to work in a practical way during the mass vaccination programme
Pictured here with fellow volunteers, the Countess is thought to proud to be part of the charity’s growing team
The royal underwent special Care Volunteer training with the charity, so that she could have a hands-on role with the jab rollout programme
Sophie is thought to be the monarch’s ‘favourite’ family member and closest confidante.
She, and her husband Edward, Earl of Wessex, the Queen’s youngest son, often visit the Queen in Windsor, and live a just a short drive away at Bagshot Park with their two children.
Sophie and The Queen are said to speak at least once a day and enjoy regular Saturday ‘movie afternoons’ when they watch old films together.
The photograph shared on social media her majesty to mark Sophie’s birthday was taken in November last year, when the younger royal was visiting the Guide Dogs National Centre in Leamington Spa, as part of her long-standing commitment to supporting people suffering from vision impairment.
Sophie, picture here with the Queen in 2019, as the pair visited the Guide Dogs National Centre in Leamington Spa, is thought to be the monarch’s favourite family member
As well as her work with St John’s Ambulance, Sophie has worked with multiple organisations that support people with vision impairments, as her daughter Lady Louise, 18, (pictured) has suffered with sight challenges
The Countess is a patron of the The Guide Dogs National Centre, which is close to the royal’s heart because her daughter Lady Louise, 18, suffered from esotropia, and had corrective surgery as a toddler.
The condition means both eyes do not look in the same direction. If left untreated it can cause serious vision problems. Her daughter’s sight challenges have inspired Sophie to raise support for other people who have visual impairments.
She is patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and a global ambassador for Vision 2020, an initiative aiming to eliminate avoidable blindness over the next five years.
Over the last decade she has visited projects helping the blind and those with sight problems in Tanzania, Bangladesh and India.