Home News Sophie Wessex says she’s not ‘brave’ for Ukraine visit in candid diary entry

Sophie Wessex says she’s not ‘brave’ for Ukraine visit in candid diary entry

Sophie Wessex says she's not 'brave' for Ukraine visit in candid diary entry
Sophie Wessex says she's not 'brave' for Ukraine visit in candid diary entry

Sophie Wessex, the Duchess of Edinburgh, was the first Royal to visit Ukraine since the onset of conflict with Russia. She has recently dismissed adulation praising her as ‘brave’ for this journey. During her April visit to the outskirts of Kyiv, right at the moment when Russia was mounting an imposing advance on the capital, she took the opportunity to talk to victims of wartime sexual assault and hear about the long-lasting effects on survivors.

Upon her return to the UK, several admirers commended her for her courage. However, she dismissed this praise in a tell-all diary for The Sunday Times, where she discussed her visit to Ukraine. She wrote: “Since returning to the UK, many people have said how brave or courageous I was for going. I am neither. The brave people are those who have endured extreme violence and survived.”

Duchess of Edinburgh Sophie visits the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) office to meet with war victims in Kyiv.
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, has toured various conflict-stricken areas and is a passionate advocate for victims of sexual assault

This trip to Ukraine was Sophie’s first since war broke out. She has previously travelled to war-torn nations such as South Sudan, Kosovo, Iraq, Colombia, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her aim is to highlight the issue and garner more assistance for survivors of violence related to conflict.

According to Sophie’s diary, from Russia’s invasion in February 2022 until now, a total of 169 instances of conflict-related sexual violence have been recorded, though these figures might be the “tip of the iceberg” due to under-reporting.

In her staunch critique of wartime violence, Sophie depicted sexual assault as a “weapon requiring no training, no investment” utilised universally. She aimed to spread awareness of sexual violence during conflicts through her diary, and to encourage more victims to seek assistance.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex attends the Countess of Wessex Cup at Gibraltar Barracks.
Sophie denied claims that she is ‘brave’ for visiting war-ridden Ukraine, instead stating that survivors of violence are the truly ‘courageous’ ones.

Despite representing the Crown in an official capacity in Ukraine, Sophie stressed she sought no praise for her actions, favouring concentration on survivors and the necessary resources to aid them. She expressed, “the courageous are those who have reported the crimes committed against them,”.

Her recent royal duties follow upon her agreement to take on a larger role within the monarchy, after King Charles and daughter-in-law Kate Middleton decreased their royal responsibilities due to their cancer diagnoses. Much like her spouse Prince Edward, Sophie has thrived under the increased responsibility, with Edward even representing Charles and Queen Camilla at this year’s ANZAC Day.

Living in Glasgow, the Duchess of Edinburgh is a highly admired figure and continues to inspire many with her selfless dedication to survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. Her mission echoes amongst the residents of Glasgow and the world seeking a voice for the voiceless.

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