Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Forfar appeared at Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security in Washington, D.C. on Monday at the annual Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards ceremony. Sophie, 57, was honored with the award for her work campaigning against sexual violence in conflict zones.
Prince Edward's wife gave a speech at the event — which was briefly interrupted when Sophie excused herself from the podium to get a tissue.
"Would you just forgive me for a minute — I just need a tissue. Sorry," she said with a laugh before stepping away from the microphone. When she returned she said, "Okay, that's a first for me, but you don't want me to carry on sniffing throughout."
Sophie said in her speech that women work to build peace despite often being placed at risk to make these changes.
"The question often posed is, 'Does a woman have the proper credentials?' This seems to me to be extraordinary because no woman putting herself into that situation would ever do so without being extremely competent. And yet her credibility is challenged, while the capacity or the credentials of the men in the room are rarely in question," she said. "My work with women activists and peacebuilders is something in which I hold huge pride. I listen to their voices, and I hear courage and commitment in every word. They work tirelessly without seeking recognition or accolade, moving heaven and earth to protect and support those in need."
On International Women's Day in 2019, Sophie announced her commitment to champion the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the U.K.'s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative at a reception for Women Peacebuilders at Buckingham Palace. Sophie has spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the U.N. in New York and attended a Foreign Office conference on preventing sexual violence.
In addition to Clinton, Sophie was joined by First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska at Monday's event.
Sophie's visit to the United States comes just days after Kate and Prince William toured Boston for three days, culminating in Friday's Earthshot Prize awards.
Kate also visited a prestigious U.S. college, visiting Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child. The royal, 40, spoke with researchers about the advances in science that can be harnessed to achieve a promising future for every child. During her conversation with the experts, she was diligently taking handwritten notes.
During the outing, Kate echoed her father-in-law King Charles' own visit to Harvard University in 1986 when she signed the guest book — 36 years after the future King signed his name.
Paul Edwards-Pool/Getty Kate Middleton
In recent years, much of the mother of three's work has been focused on early childhood development and providing children with the best possible start in life. Last year, she launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to "raise awareness of why the first five years of life are just so important for our future life outcomes, and what we can do as a society to embrace this golden opportunity to create a happier, more mentally healthy, more nurturing society."