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The Countess of Wessex had a warm hug for six-year-old Holly, who was at first reluctant to approach the royal guest
Photo: © Rex
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Obviously not troubled by the saying about not working with small children or animals, Sophie then went on to meet some of the centre's four-legged inhabitants
Photo: © Rex

Motherly Sophie shows her expert touch with a shy friend

21 SEPTEMBER 2007

Meeting royalty when you're just six years old is bound to be a little daunting. But one shy little girl got a particularly bad case of nerves as she greeted the Countess of Wessex during an engagement at an animal welfare charity just outside the town of Sidmouth in Devon.

Little Holly Luker had been chosen to present Sophie with flowers, but when her moment in the spotlight came, the youngster seemed to get cold feet. Luckily for Holly, Sophie - with a small daughter of her own and another child on the way - is more than used to kiddy reactions, and laughingly reassured her, earning a tight hug from her new acquaintance in return.

The Duchess, who was accompanied by her husband Prince Edward, was visiting The Donkey Sanctuary, a rescue centre in the Devonshire countryside which cares for 500 animals.

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