Sophie Wessex praises Queen’s love of ‘collaboration’ amid major milestone

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The Countess of Wessex, 56, often cited by royal experts as one of the Queen’s strongest allies, is global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). And she has praised Her Majesty’s “personal interest” in the work to prevent curable blindness. In April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the terrific news that Gambia had successfully eliminated trachoma – a very treatable bacterial eye infection and the world’s number one infectious cause of blindness.

Sophie described the news as “wonderful” and praised the support of the Queen in helping to eliminate the infection.

The countess said: “Her Majesty is so supportive of this kind of work.

“For her to have chosen sight as the main pillar of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Fund during its time was so reaffirming.

“She has genuinely taken a personal interest in that work.

“When I was travelling on her behalf to be able to come back and tell her what I’ve seen, what I’ve learnt, the work that was going on…she loves collaboration; she loves it when people get together and make things happen.”

According to the WHO, the bacterial infection is a major health problem in 44 countries and around 137 million people are believed to be at risk globally.

If left untreated the disease can cause irreversible blindness.

Sophie has previously spoken to Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Touray and several other key government officials who have collaborated for decades to fight the disease.

Commenting on the recent news, Sophie added: “In our lifetime, to see something that has been so prevalent and has destroyed so many lives actually being beaten is wonderful.”

She added: “Without the commitment from the top down and the bottom up, none of this would have come about.

“We stand in awe of what has been achieved.”

The Countess of Wessex is purportedly one of four “utterly trustworthy” women in the Queen’s inner circle who have offered their support to the monarch following the death of Prince Philip in April.

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A royal insider told the Daily Mail: “Sophie is like another daughter to the Queen, they are that close.

“She is trusted and relied on like few others.”

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