The Countess of Wessex has finished her mammoth 450-mile cycling challenge


The Countess of Wessex said she was overwhelmed as she pedalled through the gates of Buckingham Palace after completing a 450-mile cycling challenge from Edinburgh to London. Very impressive - just imagine how sore her thighs will be!

Sophie and her team set out from the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland on Monday for the ride in support of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award to celebrate the scheme's 60th anniversary.

Countess of Wessex.

The Countess was greeted by crowds of supporters and the Earl of Wessex, who presented her with a Diamond Pin to mark her completion of the Diamond Challenge.

Her children Lady Louise Windsor, 12, and eight-year-old James, Viscount Severn, as well as her father, Christopher Rhys-Jones, congratulated and hugged the Countess in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace this afternoon.

Countess of Wessex.

Sophie said: "If you told me that I would feel like this at the end of seven days cycling I would never have believed you.

"I do feel good and it has been a lovely, lovely experience."

While she plans to take it easy for the next couple of days, the Countess said: "I feel like I don't want to lose what I've done so I've got to get out there and do something else."

Countess of Wessex.

On the toughest days, Sophie cycled more than 80 miles and spent at least five hours on the saddle. Yikes, makes us feel a little bit ashamed by our lazy Sunday!

She said that the final mile along the Mall was "really special" and that it was "overwhelming" to see so many people.

The Countess, whose only prior experience of cycling was with her children and "never for more than the odd hour", raised more than £180,000 for the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Countess of Wessex.

She wrote on her JustGiving fundraising page that she decided to take on the challenge "to help change the lives of young people".