Sophie, Countess of Wessex Just Crossed Off a Royal First to Support the Blind
17th September 2020

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is supporting one of the causes close to her heart like no previous royal.

The 55-year-old wife of Prince Edward became the first member of the royal family to sit for a live sculpting session on Wednesday. During the two-hour live streaming session, sculptor Frances Segelman created an intricate bust of Sophie's head to support the Vision Foundation, helping blind and visually impaired people gain access to art.

The sculpture is set to be cast in bronze, providing a chance for blind and partially sighted people to know Sophie's likeness. The completed bust will be unveiled during in 2021 to celebrate the charity's centenary year.

"For the blind and partially sighted amongst us, these past months have been especially challenging," Sophie said. "However, through the care that the Vision Foundation has extended to those in difficulty, I am hopeful that the people we care for will feel empowered within their communities."

Sophie has advocated for the visually impaired and worked to curb avoidable blindness around the world. Last October, she even teamed up with mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth for a palace reception celebrating the work of the Diamond Jubilee Trust in the cause.

Sophie is royal patron of over 70 charities and organizations, with special interests in children, agriculture, avoidable blindness and preventing sexual violence.

Following a recent visit to South Sudan, a first for a member of the royal family, Sophie drew comparisons to Princess Diana for the late royal's dangerous 1997 trip to Angola to campaign against the use of landmines.

"I'm not able to raise the profile by that extent," the mother of two recently told The Sunday Times of the comparison. "I'm not going to be able to change things the way she did, but I hope it keeps it from sliding off the agenda. I won't let it, it's too important."

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With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's recent exit from their roles as senior working members of the royal family, along with Prince Andrew giving up public duties due to his ties with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, there have been questions as to whether other working royals have been picking up their duties. Queen Elizabeth's daughter-in-law addressed the issue, sharing that she remains "as busy as I have ever been."

"We've all got our own little portfolios," she said. "I don’t see anything changing, but if we’re asked to do more…I don’t know because it hasn’t really happened."

She added, "I am pretty busy already, so I’m not sure how much more I can do. There are only so many hours in the day. People may pay more attention to what I am doing, but I remain as busy as I have ever been."

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