Sophie, Countess of Wessex gets stuck in as she feeds animals on charity zoo visit

Sophie, Countess of Wessex looked effortlessly stylish as she got stuck into feeding the animals on a trip to the zoo.

The 57 year old royal, wife of Prince Edward and the King’s sister-in-law, visited ZSL London Zoo on Thursday – when she joined in with festive-themed activities with youngsters supported by the community children’s nursing team, which helps young people with chronic health conditions.

She also visited Rainforest Life, the capital’s only living rainforest, where she fed a Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin and a Red Titi Monkey.

Sophie dressed warm for the chilly November outing, donning a mulberry colour long-sleeved jumper.

In a possible nod to the festive season, she wore a pair of full-length emerald green wide-legged trousers – with a longline grey collared coat to top off the outfit.

She accessorised the look with a thin blue scarf with a bird motif and a colourful pair of earrings, with green, purple, blue and orange stones.

During her engagement, Sophie learned more about the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – the international conservation charity behind the zoo.

The charity had a close link with late Queen Elizabeth II, who was its patron from the year of her coronation, 1953, until her death in September.

During the tour, Sophie was guided by ZSL Director General Matthew Gould and ZSL President Professor Sir Jim Smith.

She viewed the recently restored Grade II listed Snowdon Aviary, designed by Princess Margaret's husband Lord Snowdon in the 1960s. The aviary is now home to 10 Eastern black and white colobus monkeys, which make up part of the new Monkey Valley exhibit.

The Countess then joined in with festive-themed activities with youngsters who receive support from the Kaleidoscope Palliative Care and community children’s nursing teams.

The royal and the youngsters filled boxes with festive items including gingerbread men and Christmas trees with sweet potato snacks – to give to the zoo's ring-tailed lemurs.

Sophie and the children also weaved edible Christmas wreaths using leaves sourced by the zoo’s horticulture team.

The children took part in the activities as part of the ZSL’s Community Access Scheme, which aims to bring people closer to wildlife by providing discounted or free access for those with disabilities or additional needs, from low-income households or over-60s at risk of isolation.

Speaking after Sophie's visit, Director General Mr Gould said: "We were honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness to ZSL London Zoo today, to join in some of our festive, educational activities, learn more about ZSL’s vital science and conservation work, and visit Monkey Valley – which itself has an important link to the Royal Family."

He added: "We were particularly pleased Her Royal Highness was able to meet some of the thousands of children who are part of ZSL’s Community Access Scheme. The scheme lets children who would not otherwise be able to visit the zoo have the chance to do so, and be inspired by our animals and the work we do to protect wildlife around the world.”


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