The Countess of Wessex showed off her country credentials as she enjoyed the opening day of Britain’s biggest agricultural show in Harrogate.
After the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were treated to a celebration of all things Yorkshire during last weekend’s Grand Depart, Sophie Wessex was keen to get a glimpse of what makes God’s own county great.
A large crowd had gathered at Harrogate’s showground for the when the royal entourage arrived early in the morning. Looking demure in a crimson blazer, pencil skirt and snakeskin wedges, the Countess brought a touch of glamour to the heart of agricultural England.
First to greet the Countess was four-year-old local lad Joseph Duncan. The Queen’s daughter-in-law, wife of Prince Edward, asked the youngster what he planned to do with his day.
Joseph replied: “I’m here to see lots of animals - and the hot tubs.”
Following his royal encounter, Joseph, who was there with grandma Melissa Ramsay, also from Harrogate, described the Countess as the ‘best lady ever’.
Proof that the buzz is still in the air following the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire, the Countess’ day began with the official unveiling of the show’s new bee and honey pavilion.
It was then on to the Discovery Centre tent, where the 49-year-old helped youngsters from Moorside Community Primary in Halifax colour in a wildlife-themed wall mural.
She also sampled some local produce at the food chain stand, designed to encourage people to think about where their meat comes from. Tasting pork from Tancred Farm Shop in Wixley, she endorsed the message.
Sam Blacker, a retired farm shop owner from Green Hammerton, said: “Sophie said she enjoys going in to her local butcher’s shop and
During a visit to the Country Pursuits section, the Countess struck up a friendship with a chocolate and white springer spaniel.
It was only after the pair warmed to one another that owner Les Dixon, of Northallerton’s Mountgrace Gundogs, revealed they shared more than a fondness for one another.
He said: “The dog’s name is Sophie, I forgot I’d called her that! I think the other Sophie took it as a compliment.”
The Countess was not afraid to get her shoes mucky, getting up close and personal with cattle in the parade rings.
Around 135,000 are expected to visit the event over the next three days.
On Wednesday, the Princess Royal will visit the show.
Read a full report and see pictures from the 2014 Great Yorkshire Show in Thursday’s Harrogate Advertiser series of newspapers.
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