Queen Elizabeth Teams Up with Daughter-in-Law Sophie to Combat Blindness at Palace Reception
On Tuesday, the royal women celebrated the work of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, whose five-year mission ending in 2020 has been to curb avoidable blindness and empower a new generation of young leaders. The Queen and Sophie, who is vice patron of the Trust and is married to Prince Edward, met beneficiaries of the program, including ophthalmologists and eye health professionals from across the Commonwealth.
Queen Elizabeth, 93, even took a backseat to her daughter-in-law, with Sophie giving a speech at the reception.
Since 2014, the Trust has helped more than 22 million people in Africa and the Pacific receive vital antibiotics to combat trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, and supported Malawi and Vanuatu in removing the risk of the disease. Both are on track to be certified as having eliminated trachoma by the World Health Organisation.
The Trust has also provided sight-saving surgery to over 104,000 people suffering with trachoma trichiasis; ensured almost 19,200 people have received treatment to prevent the loss of sight due to diabetes; and established services to screen and treat premature babies at risk of Retinopathy of Prematurity, the leading cause of childhood blindness, across four districts in India, serving a population of nearly 50 million.
Sophie, 54, traveled to India in May to see the work of the Trust in action.
“It was such a privilege to meet so many people involved in extending the ROP program, which is supported by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust,” she explained in a video on the Royal Family Twitter account. “It’s been such an example of how with the Trust’s support, they’ve been able to upscale what they do. And they now have a national program in place where they’ll hopefully be able to screen all premature babies for signs of ROP, and then hopefully get them the treatment that they need because without this treatment, they will go blind.”