Royal in the States! Sophie, Countess of Wessex Arrives in New York City for 4-Day Visit

During her stay, Queen Elizabeth's daughter-in-law will deliver the keynote address at a United Nations event on upholding women’s rights in Afghanistan

Sophie Countess of Wessex
Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Photo: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Sophie, Countess of Wessex is spending time across the pond!

Queen Elizabeth's daughter-in-law arrived in New York City on Monday for a solo four-day visit. While family members — including Prince Charles, Kate Middleton and Prince William — were celebrating Commonwealth Day with the annual service at Westminster Abbey in London, Sophie marked the occasion by visiting the Queen Elizabeth II Garden in lower Manhattan. She even grabbed a shovel and helped plant a rosemary bush.

Sophie, 57, met Consuls Generals from across the Commonwealth who are based in New York and stopped by the St. George's Society of New York, which has supported those with British and Commonwealth heritage in the city for over 250 years. She also attended a Commonwealth Day reception.

Sophie Countess of Wessex
Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

During her trip stateside, Prince Edward's wife will deliver the keynote address at Upholding Women's Rights in Afghanistan, an event hosted by the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan, United Nations Women and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

Last year, Sophie joined the 65th Commission on the Status of Women virtual event put on by the Afghanistan Mission, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the U.N.

"We need to ask, why are men so afraid of having women in the room?" said Sophie. "Women are the people who are going to enact the peace. Afghan women have shown that they are so effective in acting for peace."

Sophie Countess of Wessex
Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

As an advocate for gender equality and a Global Ambassador of 100 Women in Finance's (100WF) Next Generation Initiative, Sophie will also meet those aspiring to join the global finance industry at 100WF's First Impressions event, which she also attended in 2019.

Sophie is also a Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and she'll spend time with international eye health leaders from U.N. Women, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation to celebrate of the adoption of the United Nations' "Vision for Everyone" Resolution. The agreement enshrines eye health as part of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals in support of the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss worldwide.

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Before marrying Prince Harry, Meghan Markle appeared at the U.N. Women's conference on International Women's Day 2015. She sweetly brought her mom, Doria Ragland, along with her, and gave a speech on gender equality.

"U.N. Women, as you guys know, has defined the year 2030 as the expiration date for gender inequality," she said. "And here's what's staggering — the studies show that at the current rate, the elimination of gender inequality won't be possible until 2095. That's another eighty years from now. And when it comes to women's political participation and leadership the percentage of female parliamentarians globally has only increased by 11% since 1995. Eleven percent in 20 years? Come on. This has to change. Women make up more than half of the world's population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for our voices, to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making."

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