The Daily Telegraph

A hug from the Countess for an old acquaintan­ce

- By Olivia Rudgard

THE Countess of Wessex stopped to hug a boy as she viewed tributes left in Manchester city centre yesterday.

Josh Macpake, from Blackpool, who has sensory autism, had travelled to the city to lay flowers for the Queen in St Ann’s Square, where the Countess was greeting well-wishers.

The Earl of Wessex, the Queen’s youngest son, and the Countess visited Manchester a day after paying their respects with the rest of the Royal family at Westminste­r Hall.

Josh, who was clutching a teddy bear dressed like a Royal Guardsman and wearing a Union flag hat, was greeted by the Countess, who laid his bouquet for him and then came back for a hug. He had previously met the Countess when she visited Blackpool Tower in 2019, and has also met Queen Elizabeth and the new Princess of Wales, said Sue, his mother and carer.

She added: “I think she might have recognised him. We were about 10 people back but this lovely lady put Josh at the front. It’s been a very special day.”

Josh told Sky News the experience made him “happy”, adding that he had previously received a letter from the Queen after sending a Jubilee card.

The Earl and Countess lit candles at Manchester Cathedral and were shown photograph­s of the Queen’s last visit there, to mark the 600th anniversar­y of the collegiate church in July 2021.

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 ?? ?? The Countess of Wessex with Josh Macpake at St Ann’s Square in Manchester yesterday
The Countess of Wessex with Josh Macpake at St Ann’s Square in Manchester yesterday

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