Sophie Wessex takes over royal duty ‘on behalf’ of Queen by awarding monarch’s grand prize

Sophie Wessex presents design award on behalf of the Queen

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, congratulated a young fashion designer after she won the Queen’s Award for British Design. Prince Edward’s wife virtually presented the prize “on behalf” of the monarch, who has done it before. The royal praised the recipient for hard work, adding that the experience was “exciting”.

Sophie said: “So my first important duty is to announce this year’s winner.

“So, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, I’m honoured to announce the 2021 winner of The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to Priya Ahluwalia for ‘Ahluwalia’.

“Priya, congratulations. It’s so exciting, well done.

“How does it feel? You’re only the fourth winner of this amazing award.”

Ms Ahluwalia told the Countess: “It’s very surreal.

“I feel really really honoured and just overwhelmed.

“It’s lovely to be recognised for something you love doing and care about so much.

“So I just feel very happy.”

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The British Fashion Council give the award annually to an emerging British fashion designer that shows “exceptional talent and originality, whilst demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies”.

The Queen personally handed out the inaugural award in 2018.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess Anne have since done it on her behalf in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

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This year, Ms Ahluwalia, a London-based designer, won the prize for combining her use of sustainable resources with elements of her Nigerian and Indian heritage.

The ceremony took place on a Zoom call to mark the final afternoon of London Fashion Week.

Typically it would have been an in-person event.

However, due to coronavirus restrictions, the entire fashion event has been forced to go virtual.

Runways, showcases and conferences took place online with no live audience.

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