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Earl and Countess of Wessex make history in Hampshire

Hampshire was the setting for a series of Royal visits last week as the Earl and Countess of Wessex did a whistle-stop tour of the county. For one village in particular, it was even more of a special day as the Countess of Wessex’s visit to Titchfield marked the first time a Royal had visited for 150 years.

The Countess of Wessex went to The Square in Titchfield to look at the building that will be the home of The Haven in Wessex, a new breast cancer support centre. The Countess is president of the Haven Guardians, the charity’s key group of supporters. The centre will provide one to one care for 3000 breast cancer patients from across the region.

The last time that Titchfield had a visit from Royalty was in 1858, when Prince Edward and Prince Arthur, sons of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, visited the village church.

During a solo engagement in the county, Sophie was welcomed by children of Bitterne Park, Cantell and Hounsdown schools at the University Hospital Southampton to open the hospitals new LifeLab facility. The LifeLab scheme was launched back in 2008 to encourage youngsters to be healthy by actually teaching them the science behind exercise, health and nutrition.


The hospitals LifeLab facility was completed in September last year and since its completion over 1000 schoolchildren from across Hampshire have passed through its doors to use its equipment, which monitors their strength, heart rates and do DNA tests.

On her third solo engagement of the day, The Countess of Wessex visited the Wessex Dance Academy in Winchester .

Prince Edwards engagements of the day included a trip to Hampshire to visit Minstead Training Trust in the New Forest which provides training and life skills to adults with learning difficulties. During the visit, Edward planted a plum-tree, toured the workshops and was presented with two bats and a bowl made by the students. A wooden plaque, also made by the students, was placed next to the tree that The Prince planted.

After the visit to Minstead, Edward was given a tour of the Port of Southampton and met with staff and passengers waiting to embark on cruise ship Oriana.

From the port, Edward met with his Wife as they both visited Winchester Cathedral. Prince Edward is the Patron of the cathedral. Upon his arrival he was greeted by members of the clergy including the Bishop of Winchester, The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, The Dean of Winchester, Very Reverend James Atwell and The Vice-Dean and Canon Chancellor, The Reverend Canon Dr Roly Riem.

The Royal couple were also introduced to a group of year 6 schoolchildren who were taking part in a workshop. At the conclusion to their visit at the cathedral, Edward and Sophie witnessed the choristers rehearsing for the weekend services and were also shown the 12th century Winchester bible.

Photo Credit: K Grace Rogerson

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