Click the button for the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic and how it is impacting the royals

The Wessexes

The Countess of Wessex opens new ballet studios named in her honour


The Countess of Wessex was in Southwark on Thursday morning to open new ballet studios which are named in the 55-year-old royal’s honour.

Sophie arrived at the Central School of Ballet in a warm pink coat and red-patterned dress to officially open The Countess of Wessex Studios.

The studios are named in tribute to The Queen’s daughter-in-law who is one of the hardest members of The Royal Family.

Sophie, who has been patron of the Central School of Ballet since 2003, met with students and staff before unveiling a plaque commemorating her visit.

The Countess of Wessex Studios composes of seven studios, a fully equipped studio theatre, a study & resource centre, as well as a state-of-the-art health suite.

The studios are named after Sophie because of the “sincere gratitude” of her “continued interest and support for the project and its broad objectives for exemplary dance industry training and benefit to the local community.”

Founded in 1982, the Central School of Ballet is associated with the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama and focuses on technique and artistic expression. There are currently over 1,200 dancers who use the existing facilities in Clerkenwell.

When the Central School of Ballet launched its appeal to move to Southwark in 2017, Sophie sent a message of support, saying, “This organisation was founded on the principle that talented young dancers should get the opportunity to pursue dance as a career independent of financial circumstances or background. The new premises will allow the school to work with local communities to ensure this founding principle is followed.”

The new school will be fully operational from September 2020.