Sophie Wessex was honoured by Hillary Clinton at the annual Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards ceremony at The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in Washington DC. The former first lady hailed the Countess of Wessex as “extraordinary trailblazer” for her work promoting women’s rights.
When giving her acceptance speech the Countess appeared overcome with emotion and had to ask for a tissue as she spoke at the podium.
She said: “Would you just forgive me for a minute? I just need a tissue.”
The Countess was then seen walking off stage briefly before returning to the podium.
She added on her return: “That’s a first for me… didn’t want me carry on sniffling throughout.”
Following this she successfully continued with her speech.
The event was also attended by Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska along with the UK and Ukrainian ambassadors to the US.
Georgetown University president John J. DeGioia joined the two women on the stage and presented the Countess with the award.
The awards are given by the former US Secretary of State for “exceptional leadership in advancing women’s rights and creating a more peaceful and secure world for all.”
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She said: “Women are not just victims of war, they are agents of peace.”
Mrs Clinton added that those who engage in “systemic rape” in warzones are ‘”guilty of crimes against humanity” and “must be held to account.”
She added that the Countess has “devoted her time to supporting the UN’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda.”
She said: “She has travelled to some of the most violent and difficult conflict zones to meet with survivors and spotlight their needs.”
The Countess was also honoured for her “service” and “powerful advocacy within the global community to support survivors and bring an end to sexual violence”.