ROYALTY came to Huntingdon when Sophie, Countess of Wessex, toured medical and community facilities in the town. The visit, last Thursday, attracted national media attention as the press sought to take photographs of the now noticeably pregnant Countess.

The Countess greets children from St John's and Thongsley Fields primary schools.

ROYALTY came to Huntingdon when Sophie, Countess of Wessex, toured medical and community facilities in the town.

The visit, last Thursday, attracted national media attention as the press sought to take photographs of the now noticeably pregnant Countess.

Wearing a bright red jersey dress, she officially opened the Oak Tree Centre, in Sapley, which replaced the Acorn surgery near the site.

The Countess, 42, who is expecting her second child in December, then walked across the square to the Maple Centre, which houses volunteer and community services.

Staff at the Maple Centre greet the countess.

She was given a tour by Sue Tubberdy, chief executive of the Hunts Forum, before unveiling a plaque to mark her visit.

During her walk across the square, the Countess spoke to primary school children from St John's and Thongsley Fields.

Thongsley Year 6 pupils Ruvimbo Mangandaire and Mariana Martins-Teixeira handed over flowers, as did Charis Rodder, from Year 5 at St John's.

Ruvimbo said: "Sophie looked at the flowers I gave her and said they were very nice and thank you very much."

Sophie poses with Mark, son of a volunteer at the Moor Community Café in the Maple Centre

Mariana said: "She was nice and she was pretty."

The two centres, together with a row of shops, form part of an £11million redevelopment of the area - part of the New Heart for Oxmoor regeneration programme.

Councillor Mike Simpson, deputy leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "It was a delight to welcome the Countess of Wessex to Huntingdon to see what has been achieved through a number of partners - not least the local community working closely together."

Earlier, the Countess of Wessex visited the Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic at Abbots Ripton. She enjoyed a tour of the facilities, watching an operation on a horse, before officially opening the centre's bone scanning unit.

Matthew Tong, senior partner at the clinic, said: "Sophie told us she has previous experience in driving horses in competition and was interested in all the facilities we have at the centre.