The Queen and the Countess of Wessex celebrated the lifechanging work of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust ahead of its planned closure during a reception at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening.
The charitable foundation, which was created by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2012 to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, had a five-year mission to help prevent avoidable blindness and empower young leaders. The Trust will close as planned in 2020 after helping more than 22 million people save their sight.
The Countess of Wessex has served as Vice-Patron of the Trust and travelled around the Commonwealth in support of its mission, most recently to India where she saw how local doctors were saving children’s eyesight thanks to the Trust’s support.
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🌏The Queen, accompanied by The Countess of Wessex, held a reception at Buckingham Palace celebrating the work of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, as the charitable foundation prepares to close in 2020. Commonwealth Heads of Government decided to create a Trust in 2012 to mark and celebrate Her Majesty’s sixty-year contribution to the Commonwealth. The Trust’s work has since focused on helping to prevent avoidable blindness and to empower a new generation of young leaders. Its mission is to leave a lasting legacy owned by the whole Commonwealth, in honour of Her Majesty. The Trust has helped more than 22 million people in Africa and the Pacific receive vital antibiotics to combat trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness and provided sight-saving surgery to over 104,000 people suffering with trachoma trichiasis. Each year from 2014 to 2018, 60 exceptional young people were selected to receive a @queensyoungleaders Award and become ‘Queen’s Young Leaders’ – one for every year that The Queen had served as Head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. Progress made in the areas of preventable blindness and youth leadership will ensure that The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has a lasting legacy. © PA / Royal Family
According to Buckingham Palace, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has helped “more than 22 million people in Africa and the Pacific receive vital antibiotics to combat trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness and provided sight-saving surgery to over 104,000 people suffering with trachoma trichiasis.”
In addition to preventing avoidable blindness, the Trust carried out a Queen’s Young Leaders programme from 2014 to 2018 where 60 young people (one for each year Her Majesty served as Head of Commonwealth) were honoured for their work.
During the event, attended by staff, supporters, and eye health professionals from around the Commonwealth, Sophie gave a moving speech during which she also revealed the endearing nickname she has for her mother-in-law.
“Mama, when I have returned from my travels I have been so proud to share with you the work I have witnessed being carried out under the umbrella of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and the care of so many people working so hard to save and cure sight,” she said.
“Each time you have listened with interest and been eager to hear of how the work is going, and each time I have been stunned as you have shared with me your deep knowledge of each of these countries, not top-level observations, but personal experience, demonstrating to me time and again the real affection you have for all people of the Commonwealth and why that affection is so abundantly returned by them to you.”
“On your 21st Birthday, while on a tour to South Africa you made a promise to dedicate your life to the service of the Commonwealth,” Sophie continued.
“You have carried out this promise in so many ways ever since, but your Diamond Jubilee Trust has I believe allowed Your Majesty to demonstrate your dedication in a tangible and practical way, which has and is enriching the lives of people across the Commonwealth and will be felt by generations to come.”