Why Princess Eugenie Just Made a Surprise Visit to Westminster Abbey

Stephanie Petit

Princess Eugenie is stepping out for a cause close to her heart.

The Queen’s granddaughter, 29, carried out an unexpected engagement on Thursday, heading to Westminster Abbey in London for an event focused on combatting human trafficking. Eugenie, who founded The Anti-Slavery Collective to help raise awareness about and fight modern slavery by supporting vulnerable women and children, was joined by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons, John Cotton Richmond.

Princess Eugenie was given a tour of Westminster Abbey, which was the location of Kate Middleton and Prince William‘s 2011 wedding. During the walkabout, they viewed a statue of William Wilberforce, a British politician who famously fought for the abolition of the slave trade in the late 1700s.

After speaking during the NEXUS Meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City last summer, the royal chose a quote from Wilberforce while reflecting about the event on Instagram: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty
John Cotton Richmond and Princess Eugenie | Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty
Princess Eugenie | Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty

For the occasion, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson wore a green floral dress by Alice & Olivia with long sleeves that reached her knees.

RELATED: Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice Find Being ‘Criticized for Weight, Fashion and Work Lives Hard’

Princess Eugenie | Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty
Princess Eugenie | Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty
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In 2016, Eugenie privately visited a safe house for victims of sexual exploitation and used in slave labor.

“I’ve had the chance to see firsthand what the Salvation Army can do for victims of trafficking and modern slavery,” the royal said in a video for the organization. “This year I went to visit a safe house, and I was completely astonished by the work that they do and by the survivors who have come out of modern slavery.”

She added, “I think it’s everyone’s opportunity and duty to #askthequestion and to support this campaign in any way possible to try to effect change and create massive awareness for the cause.”