The year started with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping down from their roles as senior royal family members and losing their HRH status, followed by a string of royal divorces and now the coronavirus outbreak.
With so much drama and uncertainty, a few stable royal family members (and favourites of the Queen) have been elevated and given more responsibility.
One of these is undoubtedly Kate Middleton, with the Duchess of Cambridge stepping up in the past few months. And another stable figure whose role has been significantly ramped up in recent months is Sophie, Countess of Wessex, with the 55-year-old reported to be stepping up because the Queen counts her as one of her trusted family members.
‘[The Queen] finds Sophie’s presence soothing,’ a source told The Sun. ‘She is trusted and relied on by the Queen in a way I couldn’t say applied to the Duchess of Cambridge or the Duchess of Cornwall.’
The source continued: ‘She is like another daughter to Her Majesty, they are that close.’
When choosing a family member to take on the important job of representing the royals at the opening of a new hospital tackling coronavirus therefore, it’s unsurprising that the Queen chose Sophie.
‘Your determination, teamwork and skill has resulted in a hospital that will help to provide care to anyone in need,’ the Queen quoted Sophie alongside her video message on her royal Twitter account, adding: ‘The Countess of Wessex has sent a video message to officially open the new NHS Nightingale Hospital North East in Sunderland.’
‘It will be a beacon of care, a beacon of reassurance, of strength, of compassion and of innovation,’ Sophie said of the new facility. ‘It is a representation of combined capability of many individuals and organisations as well as a wonderful reflection of Sunderland’s industrious spirit.’
You go, Sophie Wessex!