Earlier this week, Prince William and Kate Middleton carried out the first ever virtual royal engagement when they checked in on school teachers looking after the children of key workers via video call.
Now, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, instead decided to step out, making a secret visit to a charity during the UK's coronavirus lockdown - complete with protective surgical mask and latex gloves.
Prince Edward’s wife, 55, helped out at a homeless shelter where she met staff and volunteers, and assisted in packing emergency Easter parcels for those affected by the pandemic.
In images released on Twitter by Surrey Health Borough Council, the mum-of-two - who lives in nearby Bagshot Park - stopped by the Hope Hub, which works to prevent and end homelessness in Surrey Heath and surrounding areas.
"It was a joy to welcome HRH The Countess of Wessex on Thursday 9 April to @thehopehub to meet staff & volunteers & help pack emergency food parcels for vulnerable Clients who are in temporary accommodation during COVID-19 and would otherwise be homeless.''— Surrey Heath #StayHomeSaveLives (@Surreyheath) April 10, 2020
Chief Exec Mags Mercer pic.twitter.com/zektOhcYAD
“It was a joy to welcome HRH The Countess of Wessex on Thursday 9 April to visit @thehopehub to meet staff and volunteers and help pack emergency food parcels for vulnerable Clients who are in temporary accommodation during COVID-19 and would otherwise be homeless. Chief Exec Mags Mercer,” the images were captioned.
In a statement, the Hope Hub added the royal “showed a genuine interest and compassion towards vulnerable people, asking questions and sharing and packing Easter eggs and delivered five food parcels within the Borough of Surrey Heath”.
Sophie’s low-key visit saw her packing boxes for those in need - which included chocolate Easter eggs, ham and coffee.
She is pictured keeping two metres away from staff and volunteers, in line with social distancing rules to prevent spread of the outbreak. The lockdown measures generally allow essential workers to continue their roles if they cannot be performed from home.
It comes after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a virtual meeting with staff and pupils at Casterton Primary Academy from their Norfolk home.
The children showed off Easter artwork to the royal couple, who offered words of support to their teachers.
Kate told them: “To you and everyone who is in during this time, it must be such a relief for all the parents who are key workers to know that their children have the normality and structure and they’ve got a safe place for them to be.
“So really, really well done and for all of you, I know it’s not easy circumstances, but it’s fantastic.”
A teacher replied: “Thank you so much. I think everyone is just pleased to be able to help.”
William added: “Good northern volunteering spirit going on up there, very good of you!”
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