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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 00:11 GMT 01:11 UK
Countess is girlguides new president
Sophie Wessex is presented with a Guiders badge by Chief Guide Jenny Leach
The Countess of Wessex is to become the new president of Girlguiding UK, a post previously held by the late Princess Margaret.

Her role will include chairing the council of Girlguiding UK, presenting members with the Queen's Guide Award, and certain informal duties.

The countess's appointment continues the long association between the Royal Family and Girlguiding UK.

The Queen is a loyal supporter and patron of the organisation, as was the Queen Mother.


The Countess, who is expecting a baby in December, was recently introduced to Chief Guide Jenny Leach and other members of the organisation at Buckingham Palace.

Ms Leach said: "We are thrilled that the Countess of Wessex has agreed to be our president.

"With her appointment, we secure a combination of both continuity and looking to the future for Girlguiding UK."

The Royal Family has a long association with Girlguiding UK

Sophie Wessex, who has been a Brownie herself, takes over the presidency following the death of Princess Margaret in February last year.

Princess Margaret, who had been a Brownie, Guide and Ranger, was president for 37 years.

Girlguiding UK, formerly known as the Guide Association, is Britain's largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women, with 620,000 members.

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