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The Countess sent her congratulations from high up in the Scottish highlands as the British hockey team goes for gold

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August 19, 2016 11:00 AM

With Balmoral Castle behind her, Sophie, Countess of Wessex sent some royal good luck as Britain competes for gold in Rio on Friday.

The British field hockey women are in the Olympic finals against the Netherlands, and Sophie sent them her best wishes from up the Scottish highlands, where she is vacationing with much of the extended royal family.

Well known for its drizzly weather and the biting midges that emerge from the heather, the scene behind Sophie was one of bucolic beauty, blue skies and sunshine.

Looking fit from the training regime for her upcoming charity bike ride, the Queen’s daughter-in-law, who has been royal patron of England Hockey since 2007, congratulated the team on reaching the finals.

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“This is everything that you’ve worked for. I’m just so sad I cannot be with you – but I’m there in spirit,” she said. “I hope everybody’s okay . . . And bring it home! Well done!”

The 51-year-old mom of two is spending some of her summer training for the week-long, 450-mile bike ride from Scotland to London to benefit the Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Appeal.

Going out about three times a week, she now rides up to 70 miles in a day, palace sources told PEOPLE.

“There have definitely been moments when I’ve thought, ‘What on earth have I decided to do?’ ” she told the told the Royal Family’s website.

She has special support from members of armed forces regiments, who create a wind shield, along with “a lot of chat to distract me and a lot of encouragement up hills,” she said.

The September ride will raise money for the Duke of Edinburgh award’s Diamond Appeal, while benefits disadvantaged and disabled young people.

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