Countess of Wessex takes part in poignant service to remember Covid dead

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
·2-min read

The Countess of Wessex has joined the nation in paying a poignant tribute to all those who died after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Sophie lit a candle to remember more than 46,000 people who have died during the pandemic, as she took part in the Sung Eucharist for All Souls’ Day at Westminster Abbey.

Around 150 worshippers, including the Countess, wore facemasks at the scaled-down service and sat socially-distanced two metres apart.

The Countess of Wessex lights a candle during the service. Jonathan Brady
The Countess of Wessex lights a candle during the service (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Countess led prayers inside the abbey and then lit a candle to remember the dead.

Sophie, 55, wearing a metal poppy pinned to her black dress, removed her pale blue face mask to read Bible passage Romans chapter five, verses 5-11, from The New Testament.

She took off her mask a second time and sanitised her hands before and after Holy Communion as prayers were given for all lives lost during the pandemic.

The Sung Eucharist for All Souls’ Day was held in partnership with Loss and Hope, a coalition of church denominations across the country.

The group was set up in March as Covid-19 began to first sweep the nation and directs people in grief to take part in group sessions via The Bereavement Journey course.

It holds up to six sessions on the course which was set up by Jane Oundjian more than 20 years ago.

Those taking part in the sessions have been forced to join group Zoom calls due to Covid restrictions.

Reverend Dr Sarah Archer, project leader, said: “The ceremony has extra poignancy this year due to coronavirus.

Sophie wore a facemask at Westminster Abbey. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Sophie wore a facemask at Westminster Abbey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“And the Bereavement Journey course is a very useful resource for the year that we have had.

“Some people have already found the course much better than meeting face to face as they are more comfortable in their home surroundings on Zoom.”

The service was held to offer comfort and hope during a time when the pandemic has increased the number of bereaved people across the country, organisers added.

All Souls’ Day is a day of prayer and remembrance for those who have died, observed annually by Christian denominations.