More details have emerged from the Duchess of Edinburgh’s secret trip to Iraq.
Sophie, 58, was this week requested by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to visit the Kurdish region of Iraq, Buckingham Palace announced.
The unannounced trip was kept secret for security reasons.
This was in support of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS), and to continue the Duchess’s work to advocate for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
She visited the capital, Baghdad, for two days, where she learned about the challenges Iraqi women and girls face and the ongoing work to protect and promote their rights.
Photos of Prince Edward’s wife show her sitting on the floor with children at Qadia Camp in Duhok in a white linen dress
The Duchess then traveled to Erbil where she spoke with civil society organizations working to address the impact of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and to promote women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes.
While in Erbil, the Duchess learned of the experience of a Yazidi survivor who was separated from her rape-born children and her efforts to be reunited with them.
Sophie was received by the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani.
She wore a long-sleeved white dress with a black polka dot pattern and pink and red roses with pearl details, as she was pictured listening intently to Barzani.
She also met the Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani and visited the Citadel of Erbil, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated World Heritage Site.
This is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in the fields of education, arts, sciences and culture.
During this visit, Sophie donned a short-sleeved sapphire blue dress that she paired with a brown belt and a patterned bag.
In another photo, taken from camp, she is holding a rolling pin as she is taught how to bake a dish
During a visit to the Citadel of Erbil, Sophie put on a short-sleeved sapphire blue dress that she paired with a brown belt and a patterned bag
She spent time with Yazidi survivors of conflict-related sexual violence at the Qadia camp in Duhok, home to more than 13,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The survivors spoke to the Duchess about the difficulties and stigma they face.
She witnessed the skills that survivors and other displaced people in the camp can use to support their families and find work, facilitated by the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
While in Duhok, the Duchess also met female Shabak and Turkmen survivors of CRSV.
Photos of Prince Edward’s wife show her sitting on the floor with children at Qadia Camp in Duhok in a white linen dress.
In another photo, taken from camp, she is holding a rolling pin while being taught how to bake a dish.
The Duchess was also photographed listening intently to an International Organization for Migration official outside the camp, wearing sunglasses on her head.
She wore a long-sleeved white dress with a black polka dot pattern as she was pictured listening intently to the Prime Minister of the Kurdish region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani.
The Duchess was also photographed listening intently to an International Organization for Migration staff member outside the camp, wearing sunglasses on her head
On Tuesday, it was reported that Sophie visited an all-girls high school and spoke to students and teachers about education for young women in the country and their hopes for the future.
As part of her surprise visit, she also visited a family planning center, where she learned about the work being done to support the reproductive health and well-being of Iraqi women.
She also met with female business leaders to discuss the importance of women’s economic empowerment.
While in Baghdad, Duchess Sophie also delivered a greeting message from the King to Iraqi President, Abdul Latif Rashid, and the First Lady during a special audience.
The State Department advises against all travel to most provinces in Iraq due to the threat of violent protests in and around the international zone in Baghdad.
Charles, as the Prince of Wales, traveled to the country in 2004 when he visited military personnel in Basra during the Iraq War.
In 2006, Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 85, made a surprise trip to see British troops in Basra.