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Duchess Sophie Placed in Modern-Day Princess Diana Role as 1st Royal Sent to War-Torn Ukraine

Duchess Sophie takes on role reminiscent of Princess Diana
Anatolii Stepanov – Pool/Getty Images /Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Duchess Sophie is fast emerging as one of the most important royals as she embarked on a war-torn mission reminiscent of the late Princess Diana.

Sophie, 59, has seen her status elevated at lightning speed since King Charles III turned to her and his brother, her husband Prince Edward, for help in public-facing duties as he undergoes treatment for cancer.

Since then, the duchess has done an iconic walk across Abbey Road in the footsteps of the legendary The Beatles last week and was by Edward’s side as he led a historic military event at Buckingham Palace on April 8 on the king’s behalf.

Now, she’s been the first royal to visit Ukraine amid the ongoing brutal war there following the country’s invasion by Russia.

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The duchess arrived in Ukraine on Monday, April 29, on behalf of the Foreign Office to “demonstrate solidarity with the women, men and children impacted by the war.”

Duchess Sophie visited some Ukrainian children worst affected by the conflict
Duchess Sophie visited some Ukrainian children worst affected by the conflict Anatolii Stepanov - Pool/Getty Images

She paid her respects to those who had lost their lives in the town of Bucha during the Russian occupation and met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This would’ve been given the green light by Charles, 75, as the royals have been uncharacteristically outspoken in their support of Ukraine.

Sophie visits Romanviska Bridge in Ukraine
Sophie visits Romanviska Bridge Anatolii Stepanov - Pool/Getty Images

Charles also marked the second anniversary of the invasion in February by warning of the “indescribable aggression” and the “unprovoked attack” by Russia.

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The surprise visit by Sophie also saw her talking to survivors of sexual violence and torture at an evening reception at the residence of the U.K. ambassador to Ukraine, Martin Harris. “Women and girls pay the highest price in terms of human costs,” Sophie said at the event, adding: “Rape is used to demean, to degrade and to destroy.”

Princess Diana was known for her humanitarian work
Princess Diana was known for her humanitarian work Jayne Fincher/Getty Images

Sophie has become the “royal family’s secret weapon,” royal commentator Afua Hagan told Us Weekly last week.

“She really gets on with the job, she connects very well with people on these engagements that she does, and she does a lot of them behind the scenes,” said Hagan. “Now, we’re seeing Prince Edward stepping out in his own way as well.”

Hagan went on to say that Edward, 60, feels “really privileged” to attend public-facing royal events “on behalf” of Charles and Prince William. “Maybe he’s the other secret weapon in the royal family.”

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