The Duchess of Edinburgh visits Iraq – Royal Central

The Duchess of Edinburgh has spent some time in the Middle East this week on a previously unannounced visit to Iraq on behalf of her work with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

Buckingham Palace announced the news on Tuesday afternoon, noting that Sophie had spent two days in Iraq at the request of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to support the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

The royal becomes the first member of the British Royal Family to visit Iraq, spending two days in the capital city of Baghdad.

Sophie’s first day saw her deliver a speech at the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Women’s Voices First Conference to talk about the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. At the conference, she met with women’s organisations operating in Iraq to learn more about how they’re supported by the CSSF’s programmes.

The Duchess of Edinburgh was accompanied by the UK’s Ambassador to Iraq, Mark Bryson-Richardson. The duo visited the Hitten Girl’s School to learn about educational opportunities for girls in Iraq and how teachers and administrators support their students with leadership opportunities.

The Ambassador tweeted: “Huge honour to welcome HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh to Baghdad, which marks the first visit by a member of the Royal Family. A sign of the strength of our bilateral relationship and the importance of Iraq to the UK.”

Sophie’s first day in Baghdad included audiences with Iraq’s President, Abdul Latif Rashid, First Lady Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmed and Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammad Shia Al Sudani.

On the first evening, she attended a reception supporting the CSSF and met with other participants and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

On her second day in Baghdad, Sophie met with workers at a family planning centre—to learn about access to reproductive health within the country—and women who run their own businesses—to learn about the economic impact of women in Iraq.

Sophie’s visit to Iraq was previously unannounced as the UK government currently advises that travel to the Middle Eastern country is unsafe due to the threat of violence and protests within the country.

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