The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and Sophie, had a hectic day of engagements on the Island on Tuesday (May 24).
The couple spent the day on the Island as they and other royal family members tour the UK as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.
After arriving at the Island Riding Centre, their first stop was Pan, where were welcomed by pupils of Barton Primary School and they visited Pan Together, Barnardo’s Family Centre, and Howard’s House Homeless Hub. They travelled together to the County Show’s Education Day at the Royal Agricultural Society’s Showground in Northwood, surprising masses of children and teachers as they petted goats, alpacas and llamas, admired prize pigs and cows and toured various stands. They then joined the children making pizzas which were cooked and enjoyed.
The royal couple joined the Island’s Lord Lieutenant, Susie Sheldon, for a lunch made from Island products, including sandwiches using Briddlesford Farm butter and cheese and Hazelgrove Farm eggs, followed by cakes and cream scones from Bluebells at Briddlesford. After a presentation of a hamper of more Island products they left the showground, with Prince Edward going to Independent Arts in Newport and the Countess visiting South Wight Area Youth (SWAY), a Christian organisation that works with young people.
They reunited to visit Columbus House in Shanklin, a retirement complex where they met residents and volunteers, and helped with the preparations for the forthcoming Jubilee Celebrations – with children waving flags and bunting decorating the location.
A guard of honour was provided by the local fire service, and they were welcomed into the homes of two of the residents, met three centenarians and pupils from the Bay CE, Gatten & Lake, and Broadlea Primary schools, as well as the Priory and Bay CE Secondary School. Before leaving, they were presented with commemorative mugs designed by pupils from the Bay CE, specially designed glass, and had time to plant two Jubilee roses, helped by representatives from Sandown Green Town Volunteers.
A special bouquet was presented by Gatten & Lake pupil Laynee Haward before they departed, but there was still time for a spontaneous conversation with local residents who had gathered to see them depart to Sandown airfield.