When an Earl and Countess visited Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

When an Earl and Countess visited Sri Lanka

The Earl of Wessex Prince Edward and Countess Sophia will be meeting the President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after attending the 70th Independence Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green today.

The Visiting Royal couple who represented the Queen Elizabeth II as the head of Commonwealth, visited Temple of Tooth in Kandy on Thursday where they paid homage to the most sacred tooth relic of Buddha shortly after their arrival. Their itinerary in Kandy included planting of a myrtle tree at Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and a visit to Trinity College to meet up with the junior students as well as students from Girls High School Kandy.

The Earl and Countess travelled in a golf buggy taking in the beauty of the Botanical Gardens and looking at the trees planted by the British Royal Family for over 100 years. They also unveiled a plaque to celebrate the long standing relationship between the Royal Botanical Gardens and Britain. Queen Elizabeth had visited the Gardens in 1954 and the buildings within the gardens had been used by Lord Mountbatten as his headquarters during WWII.

The next day the couple travelled to Nuwara Eliya, to visit a picturesque tea plantation and to speak to those from the Mentally Handicapped Children and Families Project. Countess Sophie takes a special interest in helping children with special needs. The particular SL-UK project has helped over 8000 children and their families, the British HC announced.

During the visit to Udawalawe Elephant Transit home yesterday morning the Prince Edward who is the 9th in line to the throne fed the orphaned baby elephants being rehabilitated at the transit camp. They spoke to the staff and learnt about the work being done there to protect Sri Lanka’s elephants.

Last afternoon the royal couple met differently abled girls from the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association when they visited the school for the Deaf and Blind, Ratmalana. Earlier in the day they were welcomed at the British Council Colombo.

Officials sources said the Royal couple was scheduled to be hosted for a private dinner by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga last evening.

They will meet the President and the Prime Minister this afternoon before wrapping up their five day visit and departure on Monday.

Pix Rukmal Gamage and courtesy BHC