Sophie Wessex praises Queen for taking a ‘personal interest’ in her Commonwealth work

The Countess of Wessex has said the Queen ‘loves it when people get together and make things happen’ as she celebrated The Gambia’s achievement of becoming trachoma free.

Sophie, who is a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), held a video call last month ahead of the official announcement, and described the news as ‘wonderful’.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed last week that The Gambia had successfully eliminated trachoma – which is a type of bacterial eye infection and the world’s number one infectious cause of blindness. 

Sophie, 56, also praised the Queen, who is now mourning the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh, for her support for tackling avoidable blindness across the Commonwealth. 

The Countess of Wessex has said the Queen (pictured together in 2019) 'loves it when people get together and make things happen' as she celebrated The Gambia's achievement of becoming trachoma free

The Countess of Wessex has said the Queen (pictured together in 2019) 'loves it when people get together and make things happen' as she celebrated The Gambia's achievement of becoming trachoma free

The Countess of Wessex has said the Queen (pictured together in 2019) ‘loves it when people get together and make things happen’ as she celebrated The Gambia’s achievement of becoming trachoma free

She said the monarch had taken a personal interest and ‘loves it when people get together and make things happen’.

The countess revealed: ‘Her Majesty is so supportive of this kind of work. For her to have chosen sight as the main pillar of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Fund during its time was so reaffirming.

‘She has genuinely taken a personal interest in that work. 

‘When I was travelling on her behalf to be able to come back and tell her what I’ve seen, what I’ve learnt, the work that was going on … she loves collaboration; she loves it when people get together and make things happen.’

Sophie (pictured), who is a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), held a video call last month ahead of the official announcement, and described the news as 'wonderful'

Sophie (pictured), who is a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), held a video call last month ahead of the official announcement, and described the news as 'wonderful'

Sophie (pictured), who is a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), held a video call last month ahead of the official announcement, and described the news as ‘wonderful’

What is trachoma? 

Trachoma is a type of bacterial eye infection and the world’s number one infectious cause of blindness.

The bacterial infection can, if left untreated, cause irreversible blindness. Some 137million people are at risk of trachoma globally.

It is a public health problem in 44 countries, and responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9million people.

The disease is caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. 

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Commenting on the news, the countess added: ‘In our lifetime, to see something that has been so prevalent and has destroyed so many lives actually being beaten is wonderful.’

She continued: ‘Without the commitment from the top down and the bottom up, none of this would have come about. We stand in awe of what has been achieved.’  

In October, the Queen and her daughter-in-law joined a call with eye health professionals throughout the Commonwealth to mark World Sight Day.

At the end of March, Sophie spoke with key representatives from The Gambian government, including vice-president Isatou Touray, and the international community, who have collaborated for decades to fight the disease.

The country’s ministry of health has worked with organisations including the International Trachoma Initiative, WHO, the Medical Research Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Unicef and Sightsavers.

The bacterial infection can, if left untreated, cause irreversible blindness. Some 137million people are at risk of trachoma globally.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9, of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9, of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9, of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99 

It is a public health problem in 44 countries, and responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9million people.

Meanwhile, Sophie is one of four loyal, discreet and ‘utterly trustworthy’ women of the Queen’s inner circle who are offering crucial support as she faces life without her beloved Prince Philip, who died on April 9, aged 99.

‘Sophie is like another daughter to the Queen, they are that close,’ said a royal source. ‘She is trusted and relied on like few others.’ 

The pair are said to speak at least once a day and enjoy regular Saturday ‘movie afternoons’ when they watch old films together. 

Link hienalouca.com

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