Sophie, Countess of Wessex, joins Childline counsellors for first in-person engagement in weeks

Sophie visited the NSPCC to thank those who worked during the pandemic. (Royal Family)
Sophie visited the NSPCC to thank those who worked during the pandemic. (Royal Family)

The Countess of Wessex joined counselling staff on a shift helping children as she made her return to in-person engagements on Wednesday.

Sophie followed in the footsteps of her nephew, Prince William, and brother and sister-in-law Prince Charles and Camilla, as she paid a visit to the NSPCC and Childline.

Sophie is a patron of the NSPCC and Childline.

Posting about her visit on Twitter, the Royal Family wrote: “The Countess of Wessex, Patron of @NSPCC and #Childline visited the charity today to thank staff and volunteers for their recent work supporting vulnerable children. For many young people, lockdown has exacerbated the already difficult circumstances they were facing.

“HRH also saw first-hand the work of Volunteer Counsellors by joining a Childline counselling shift today. Volunteers and staff, who are recognised as critical workers, have helped deliver over 2,000 counselling sessions a week to children since lockdown.”

Read more: Who are Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex?

She’s the first royal to make an engagement held mostly indoors, but was not pictured wearing a face mask or covering.

Government guidelines in England mean it’s only mandatory to have a covering on public transport, but advice customers wear them in some shops, particularly if social distancing is difficult.

Other royals have maintained distancing on their engagements, and it’s likely Sophie would also have done so.

While this is Sophie’s first official in-person engagement, the royal has been keeping very busy throughout lockdown, giving her time to volunteer at projects close to their home at Bagshot Park.

Read more: UK's updated rules on face masks and coverings: What you need to know

She and her husband, Prince Edward, visited Frimley Park Hospital on 11 June and delivered meals made for NHS staff by volunteers.

The couple joined volunteers at London Irish Rugby Club to make the 50 meals. The club has so far donated 50,000 meals through the pandemic.

The countess, 55, had previously been to the same hospital in April when she delivered food parcels for nurses, with Nourish Our Nurses.

She’s also been busy with virtual engagements, including joining forces with Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, for calls to nurses around the world.

And she had an important meeting with one of Boris Johnson’s representatives this week.

Read more: Sophie, Countess of Wessex, reveals she had five years to 'adjust' to marrying into the Royal Family

On Tuesday, the Court Circular revealed she “held a Meeting with the Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict).”

She also “opened “the Lifeboat Process”, the second of a series of Women’s Network Forum Webinars, via a video conference call”.

Lord Ahmad tweeted: “HRH The Countess of Wessex is a fantastic champion of the UK’s work to improve the livelihoods of women and girls across the world. She is a brilliant advocate for women, peace and security issues and the fight against sexual violence, highlighted by her visit to [South Sudan] in March.”

Sophie and Prince Edward became full time working royals in 2002 but in the last few months, Sophie has become a more visible member in the senior royal ranks.

She uses her royal role to focus on health and issues around violence against women around the world. Earlier this year she became the first royal to visit South Sudan.