Regal in royal blue! Sophie Wessex looks elegant as she visits newly refurbished hospital

Birthday blue! Sophie Wessex is stylish in stripes as she is given a card by staff and patients at newly refurbished Ascot hospital – before she turns 58 tomorrow

The Countess of Wessex cut an elegant figure in a deep blue designer dress as she attended a royal engagement today.

Sophie, 57, beamed as she met with staff and patients to celebrate the refurbishment of Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot.

The wife of Prince Edward, the late Queen’s youngest son, wore a black and royal blue striped Gabriela Hearst midi dress as she unveiled a plaque to mark its full reopening.

The visit came ahead of Sophie’s 58th birthday tomorrow, and the Countess looked delighted as she was handed a birthday card as she left the NHS hospital.

Royal seal of approval: Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, visited the newly refurbished Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot today

Royal seal of approval: Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, visited the newly refurbished Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot today

The characteristically chic countess was also handed a bouquet of white flowers, and looked glowing as she left the unit.

Sophie paired her £1,195 wool-blend dress with matching black and white pearl earrings and a long silver chain necklace, featuring a larger, statement pearl.

She also wore what appeared to be suede high heeled boots as she walked around the healthcare unit.

While there, she toured the hospital’s theatre suite, including the anesthetic room and recovery area. 

The Countess wore what appeared to be suede high heeled boots as she walked around the healthcare unit

The Countess wore what appeared to be suede high heeled boots as she walked around the healthcare unit

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Read between the lines like Sophie in a striped dress by Gabriela Hearst

The Princess of Wales, the FLOTUS Dr. Jill Biden and the Countess of Wessex… designer Gabriela Hearst has certainly got an impressive fan club!

When you search online for ‘blue and black’ dress, the first thing that comes up is THE dress. You know, the optical illusion number that nobody could agree on what colours it was?!

Anyway, Sophie is redefining that here, wearing the ‘Capote’ dress, which features a flared midi skirt, a wool-blend fabric, and stripes that are strategically placed to flatter the figure. And all in a very striking colour combination!

It’s no longer available to buy, but click through to browse the current collection.

Or say it in stripes with the help of shopping edit, featuring stand out options from Hobbs and Marni.

The visit came ahead of Sophie's 58th birthday tomorrow, and the Countess looked delighted as she was handed a birthday card as she left the NHS hospital

The visit came ahead of Sophie’s 58th birthday tomorrow, and the Countess looked delighted as she was handed a birthday card as she left the NHS hospital

The mother-of-two looked elegant as she prepared to unveil a plaque marking her visit in Ascot

The mother-of-two looked elegant as she prepared to unveil a plaque marking her visit in Ascot 

She also met patients and their families, and was pictured having a chat with people sat in the hospital’s waiting areas.

Among the staff she spent time with during her visit were nurses, health assistants and service chiefs.

The royal has close personal ties to the Frimley Health, the NHS hospital Trust, which runs Heatherwood.

Sophie gave birth to both of her children, Lady Louise Windsor, 19, and James, Viscount Severn, 15, at Frimley Park Hospital, which is also part of the healthcare group. 

She met patients and their families, and was pictured having a chat with people sat in the hospital's waiting areas

She met patients and their families, and was pictured having a chat with people sat in the hospital’s waiting areas

Among the staff she spent time with during her visit were nurses, health assistants and service chiefs

Among the staff she spent time with during her visit were nurses, health assistants and service chiefs

While there, she toured the hospital's theatre suite, including the anesthetic room and recovery area

While there, she toured the hospital’s theatre suite, including the anesthetic room and recovery area

Heatherwood is also just a short drive from her family’s residence at Bagshot Park, a mansion rumoured to have as many as 120 rooms and be worth an estimated £30m, located on Bagshot Heath near Windsor.

Last year marked one hundred years since the foundation of Heatherwood Hospital, and the Countess helped to cement another milestone in its history today.

Pulling back a blue curtain which coincidentally mirrored the colour of her dress, she revealed a metal plaque marking her presence at its refurbishment.

Dozens of healthcare staff were pictured gathering to catch a glimpse of the Countess, waving their phones to catch a snap of the resplendent-looking royal.

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