Sophie, Countess Of Wessex Is Making Royal History Following The Queen's Death

Several key members of the royal family came to the forefront as they gathered to grieve the loss of Queen Elizabeth II. In particular, Kate Middleton and Sophie, Countess Of Wessex wore subtly touching tributes to the queen in the days following her passing. As the Daily Mail reported, both women were photographed wearing prominent silver crucifixes with their solemn, all-black outfits — a nod to Her Majesty's devout Christian faith.

Prince Edward's wife has been working away in the background for years, but Sophie gained prominence as she joined the rest of The Firm in mourning. According to The Mirror, the low-key royal was actually Her Majesty's "favorite." The two women spoke on the phone every day and helped each other through their most difficult moments. Understandably, then, Sophie was heartbroken when the queen passed and even traveled to Balmoral. 

Now that the official mourning period has concluded, the countess is getting back to work, and she's notably making history with her latest royal tour.

Sophie traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to spread awareness

As The Sunday Times's royal editor Roya Nikkhah confirmed on Twitter, Sophie, Countess of Wessex is the first member of the royal family to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office of the United Kingdom announced in a statement that she traveled there, at their request, to highlight "the devastating impact of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, while supporting and empowering survivors and tackling the stigma they face."

The countess was accompanied by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Prime Minister's special representative on preventing sexual violence in conflict, on the trip accordingly. MSN reported the visit, which was in the books for a while prior to Queen Elizabeth II's death, will be tightly controlled due to the ongoing civil conflict in the area. The Daily Mail published photos of Sophie meeting locals, noting she was gifted the Congolese name "Umoja Mama Louise" as a sign of respect.

Back in 2019, the countess committed herself to help Britain confront the devastating issues faced by victims of rape and sexual assault in conflict-stricken areas. "Every story I am told is pushing me forward. I feel obligated to tell people this is happening — it is their story to tell and I support them," Sophie explained at the time (via Daily Mail).

The Countess of Wessex had a key role in the royal family after the queen's death

Sophie, Countess of Wessex was distraught following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. But, while she was mourning the loss, Sophie also ensured the rest of the royal family was ably supported as best she could. As lawyer Pranav Bhanot, who was present at the long-reigning monarch's state funeral in Westminster Abbey, told People: "The Countess of Wessex was incredible. I saw her putting her arm around three or four people."

Bhanot added, "She really seemed to be the person keeping the family together." In fact, Sophie even consoled bishops who were upset at the gravity of the day, and the Princess of Wales, who also shed a few tears during the ceremony. "Sometimes you have that one strong person in a family who's kind of keeping everyone together. To me, it seemed like Sophie was that person today," he stated. "It seemed that she really was very strong."

Moreover, the Countess of Wessex reportedly tried to make peace with Meghan and Harry. According to the Mirror, in Katie Nicholl's book, "The New Royals," the royal expert revealed she reached out several times to the couple, in an effort to convince them to reconsider leaving the family. Sophie, who traveled with Meghan from Westminster Hall to Buckingham Palace last month, per Us Weekly, felt they could connect over being "outsiders."