The Earl and Countess of Wessex made a trip to Gibraltar on behalf of The Queen to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee on June 13. All through the visit, The Earl Prince Edward and Countess of Wessex Sophie Jones observed The Queen’s 70 years of service with people of Gibraltar.
Their Royal Highness last visited Gibraltar to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. And so, this is the second time visiting, but for the benefit of her Majesty.
In Gibraltar, The Earl and Countess also recognised its communities, culture and history, as well as its links with the United Kingdom. The visit will have a particular focus on promoting opportunities for young people and education.
On appearance in Gibraltar, Their Royal Highnesses were met by the Governor of Gibraltar, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, and the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, The Honorable Fabian Picardo QC MP.
At Gibraltar’s RAF base, they received a military welcome, with The Earl inspecting the Guard of Honour formed of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. His Royal Highness presented the Regiment with their new Colours at Windsor Castle in March, during their time on Guard Duty in London and Windsor.
Their Royal Highnesses also visited the Nautilus Project, to see how volunteers and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award participants are working to protect Gibraltar’s varied marine life.
The Earl is Chairman of Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, which has been running the scheme in Gibraltar for over 50 years, with in excess of 200 youngsters participating consistently.
Meanwhile, a message was also delivered from The Queen to the people of Gibraltar.
The second day of their visit in Gibraltar, their Royal highnesses started off with a visit to the Moorish Castle Estate, where The Earl and Countess met local occupants.
Afterward, The Earl was shown Gibraltar’s recently reestablished Northern Defenses, now a local heritage site. The Countess joined volunteers at mental health charity The Clubhouse, to see first-hand how the service provides support for the local community.
They later met Duke of Edinburgh International Gold Award Holders. The Duke of Edinburgh International Award was established in Gibraltar in 1971 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021.
The Earl then visited the University of Gibraltar to meet those studying nursing and business courses.
At Her Majesty’s Naval Base, His Royal Highness, who is Commodore in Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, met crew members of RFA ARGUS.
The Countess was also at the Special Olympics, where they participated in a progression of sports activities with the competitors, prior to joining Girl Guides and Scouts at Gibraltar’s Scouts Retreat Center, in Her Royal Highness’ job as President of Girlguiding UK.
Her Royal Highness also visited Sandy Bay to see The Adapted Surfing Project in action. The project provides surfboarding and water activities for disabled young people and aims to inspire participants to take on new challenges.
On their final day in Gibraltar, The Earl and Countess attended The Queen’s Birthday Parade in Casemates Square.
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment proudly used the Colour that was presented to them by The Earl during a special ceremony at Windsor Castle during their time on Guard Duty in March.
They also visited the newly opened St Martin’s Special Needs School. The Countess visited the original St Martin’s School in 2012 and has a long held interest in the provisions for people with disabilities.
Their Royal Highnesses toured the new state-of-the-art facilities and were treated to a musical performance by the pupils in their new music room before planting a commemorative tree to mark the occasion.