Sophie marked the 21st anniversary of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance this morning by meeting the charity’s crew and former patients at White Waltham Airfield. This face-to-face royal engagement has been particularly poignant for the Countess of Wessex, whose life was saved by crew members at the Thames Valley Air Ambulance 19 years ago.
In December 2001, the Countess was flown from her home in Surrey to London’s King Edward VII hospital via air ambulance.
Doctors discovered Sophie was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy and had to undergo surgery.
During her engagement today, Sophie spoke with staff at the air ambulance about their day-to-day challenges.
Moreover, she heard from former patients of the charity about their life-threatening experiences and how the charity’s crew helped saved their lives.
The Countess was also filmed hopping on one of the air ambulances to be shown some of the advanced medical equipment on board.
The Countess became the patron of this charity, which since it was created in 1999 has received more than 24,000 call outs, in January last year.
Sophie has been working non-stop during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
At the height of the lockdown, between April and May, the Countess lent her help to several associations.
Sophie was photographed joining the professional kitchen crew at rhubarb Ltd, a UK-based hospitality group, to cook hot meals for frontline staff.
The group’s head PB Jacobse said at the time: “Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex offered her time to help prepare these NHS meals.
“We were delighted to welcome her on Wednesday 15th April to our humble kitchens, where she joined our team and worked diligently with our chef brigade to prepare food for our heroic NHS Hospital Teams.”
The Countess was also spotted delivering meals and necessities to care homes and key workers.
DON’T MISS Sophie Wessex son: Why is James, Viscount Severn not a Prince? [ANALYSIS]Prince Edward secured firm place in Queen and Philip’s heart [REPORT]Sophie Countess of Wessex: Edward’s first reaction to future wife [INSIGHT]
In early June, Sophie revealed she had volunteered at the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, Surrey, when she joined the contest launched by Kate, Duchess of Cambridge – Hold Still.
The Countess took a picture of a fellow volunteer, Ali, who had been preparing for weeks for eight hours every day food parcels to be delivered to NHS workers and volunteers.
After Sophie submitted her photograph to Kate’s contest, a spokesman for the Wessexes said her snap wanted to be “a tribute to all of the volunteers she has met over recent weeks who are working incredibly hard to help their local communities.”
Over the past few months, the Countess has also continued to be in close contact with her patronages.
In early July, Sophie held a meeting via video link with Dame Ann Gloag and Ms Lois Boyle regarding the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative.
A few days later, the Countess also attended the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Steering Board Meeting.
When lockdown measures started to be eased, Sophie also visited a pub, the Half Moon in Windlesham, to hear about the difficulties local business owners had faced during months of forced closure.
Enjoying a pint, Sophie was also shown the safety measures in place at the pub allowing all guests to safely eat and drink out.
The Countess, Prince Edward and their two children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn, also enjoyed a break at Balmoral in August.
The family-of-four joined the Queen and Prince Philip in Scotland like every summer.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sophie and her family had to remain a safe two-metre distance from the elderly royals and did not stay at the estate’s main house.