Sophie Wessex arrives in Derbyshire by helicopter

Travelling in style! Countess of Wessex arrives in wet and windy Derbyshire by HELICOPTER during whistlestop East Midlands tour

  • The Countess of Wessex is carrying out engagements in East Midlands today
  • Sophie, 53, was due to begin her day at a community school in Northampton 
  • She later travelled on to David Napier Academy in Alfreton, Derbyshire
  • Prince Edward’s wife used the G-XXEB helicopter, part of Queen’s private fleet

The Countess of Wessex made a dramatic entrance today when she touched down in Derbyshire by helicopter.

Sophie, 53, battled rainy conditions as she disembarked the Queen’s private aircraft at the David Nieper Factory in Alfreton this afternoon as part of her whistlestop East Midlands tour.

Wrapped up in a collarless cream coat and pink scarf, the wife of Prince Edward was forced to take refuge beneath a large umbrella.

She was completing a series of engagements in the East Midlands today, beginning in Northampton.

Constructed in 2009 by Sikorsky, the S76C helicopter is part of the royal family’s private fleet. The £8m aircraft is capable of a maximum speed of 178 mph, with a 30-minute fuel reserve.

The Countess of Wessex arrives at the David Nieper Academy in Alfreton, Derbyshire on 20 November. Sophie is completing a whistlestop tour of the East Midlands today

Sophie, 53, chats to staff at the David Napier Academy. The royal looked suitably smart for the occasion, teaming a powder pink dress with black heeled boots, leather gloves and a clutch

Getting stuck in! During her visit to the David Napier Academy today, Sophie joined in on a design and technology class where she donned an apron and got to work in the kitchen

The aircraft is described as ‘providing a quiet and comfortable cabin environment, low carbon footprint and best value for money’. 

Sikorsky has provided helicopters to support the Royal Family since the 1950s.

Sophie looked suitably smart for the occasion, teaming a powder pink dress with black heeled boots, leather gloves and a leopard print clutch.


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The mother-of-two was due to begin her day at Fairfield’s School in Northampton before visiting Gussie’s Kitchen in Chesterfield.

She then travelled on to the David Nieper Academy and David Nieper Factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

During her visit to the academy, a comprehensive school, she joined in on a design and technology class where she donned an apron and got to work in the kitchen.   

Sophie, 53, arrives by helicopter. She battled rainy conditions as she disembarked the private aircraft at the David Nieper Factory in Alfreton this afternoon as part of her whistlestop East Midlands tour

The Countess of Wessex arrives in Derbyshire. Wrapped up in a collarless cream coat and pink scarf, the wife of Prince Edward was forced to take refuge beneath a large umbrella

Sophie disembarks the helicopter in Derbyshire today. Constructed in 2009 by Sikorsky, G-XXEB is part of the royal family’s private fleet. It is capable of a maximum speed of 178 mph and a ferry range of 400 miles, with a 30-minute fuel reserve

The mother-of-two was due to begin her day at Fairfield’s School in Northampton before visiting Gussie’s Kitchen in Chesterfield, later travelling onto David Napier Academy (pictured)

Sophie was greeted by youngsters waving Union flags, and unveiled a bronze plaque commemorating her visit to David Napier Academy in Alfreton, Derbyshire today

Sophie chats to youngsters at the David Napier Academy. Née Rhys-Jones, Sophie married into the royal family in 1999 and is mother to Lady Louise Windsor, 15 and James Viscount Severn, ten

The Countess dons an apron as she joins in a design and technology class at the David Napier Academy in Alfreton on Tuesday, part of her East Midlands tour

The Countess of Wessex unveils a plaque to commemorate her visit to the David Nieper Academy in Alfreton, Derbyshire on 20 November

She was greeted by youngsters waving Union flags, and unveiled a bronze plaque commemorating her visit. 

Née Rhys-Jones, Sophie married into the royal family in 1999 and is mother to Lady Louise Windsor, 15 and James Viscount Severn, ten. 

The pair married, after six years of dating, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle – the same location chosen for Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie’s respective nuptials.

The former PR consultant has previously described herself as ‘one of the few ladies in the British royal family who has had a professional business career and their own company’.

Unlike other, more glamorous royals, Sophie does her own hair, sometimes drives herself to official engagements, and even makes her own pre-engagement notes without the traditional help of a lady-in-waiting.

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