On Friday, the Countess of Wessex attended the passing out parade at Sandhurst of behalf of Her Majesty.
Two hundred and twenty two cadets took part in the traditional parade to symbolise the end of their gruelling 44 week officer training. Sophie, wife of Edward, Earl of Wessex was there to represent the Queen, who is head of the Armed Forces. Hundreds of family and friends of the cadets, as well as VIPs attended the Parade.
The Countess gave a lengthy speech which congratulated the new officers and thanked their training staff, assuring them ‘they [their trainers and senior officers] are as proud of you today as all your families and friends are’, also calling their training ‘rigorous and exacting’. She mentioned how she, her husband and children camped out the a few nights before not too far away, and could hear the explosions from the training base, causing her to think of the cadets who would be ending their training that day.
Sophie wore a nude skirt suit, with embroidery detail on the cuffs and a similarly styled belt; she wore this outfit to William and Catherine’s wedding in 2011, though teamed it with a different hat, rather than the fascinator style she wore then.
Despite the Parade being the official end of the training, also signifying their new positions as officers, the cadets do not actually become officers until the stroke of midnight. Sandhurst is also where the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry completed their officer training in 2006 (though at different entry points) and went through the same training and parade as the cadets do every year.
photo credit: Defence Images via photopin