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Royal's joy as elderly father receives COVID vaccine

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·2-min read

The Queen’s daughter-in-law, Sophie, Countess of Wessex has shared her joy after her elderly father received the coronavirus vaccine.

Sophie, who celebrated her birthday on January 20, said in a heartfelt video message to UK health workers that finding out the news about her dad was an “early birthday present”.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and her father Christopher Rhys-Jones attend Day 4 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 21, 2013 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and her father Christopher Rhys-Jones at Royal Ascot in 2013. Photo: Getty Images.

“I had a very wonderful birthday present yesterday, well it was an early birthday present because my father received his vaccine, he’s 89 years old and I’m so happy he’s actually got it,” the royal said via Zoom.

Sophie, who is married to Prince Edward, went on to thank the staff at the hospital where her father, Christopher Rhys-Jones, had been vaccinated.

“It’s a huge weight off my mind. [My father] was full of praise for the way it had been handled and how quick and easy and simple the whole process was.

“That would not be happening without the care and attention of nurses in general surgeries.”

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Stepping up royal duties

Sophie made the comments when she joined NHS General Practice nurses and healthcare assistants at the Lincolnshire Hub virtual conference on Wednesday.

Like her fellow royal the Duchess of Cambridge, mum-of-two Sophie has been stepping up royal duties in the last year and has had an increasingly public profile for her work.

The Countess is passionate about vision-related charities, as well as supporting women’s rights and survivors of abuse. She has also spent time volunteering throughout the pandemic, lending her support to charity shops as well as to organisations cooking meals for key workers.

Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge And Sophie Countess Of Wessex Attending The Trooping The Colour Ceremony In London
Sophie, Countess Of Wessex and Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge share a laugh at Trooping The Colour in 2012. Photo: Getty Images.

Her father Christopher is a retired sales director for an importer of industrial tyres and rubber goods.

The family lived together in Brenchley, Kent, and Sophie has a brother called David. Sophie’s mother, Mary, who was a charity worker, died in 2005.

Additional reporting by Rebecca C Taylor.

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