Sophie Wessex: Expert discusses Lady Louise's esotropia
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Sophie and her husband Prince Edward have stepped further into the spotlight in recent months to fill the void left by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who left royal duties last year. The popular royals have worked in a multitude of areas since becoming full-time royals nearly two decades ago. Sophie has done a lot of work in the preventable blindness arena and is the patron of blindness charity Vision Foundation.
It is believed her interest in this area stems from her daughter Louise’s esotropia.
Louise was born with the eye condition, which turns eyes inwards, and underwent surgery to correct it as a toddler, which was unfortunately unsuccessful.
However, she had further treatment in late 2013 aged 10, which was successful.
According to royal expert Roya Nikkhah, the result regarding the condition was “not perfect”, but Sophie recently made a heartwarming comment on the subject, pointing out that everyone has things about them that are not perfect.
Ms Nikkhah, who is royal correspondent for The Sunday Times, revealed this in the Channel 5 documentary ‘Edward and Sophie: Reluctant royals’.
She said: “One of [Sophie’s] key charitable endeavours is doing as much as she can for avoidable blindness and for eyesight charities.
“Lady Louise has had corrective surgery, although it’s not perfect.
“And Sophie recently said, ‘and which one of us are?’ which I thought was rather lovely.”
But, speaking in 2015, Sophie added that Louise’s eyesight is now “perfect”.
She said: “Premature babies can often have squints because the eyes are the last thing in the baby package to really be finalised.
“Her squint was quite profound when she was tiny and it takes time to correct it.
“You’ve got to make sure one eye doesn’t become more profound than the other but she’s fine now – her eyesight is perfect.”
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Between them, Sophie and Edward are associated with more than 150 charities around the world.
Dickie Arbiter, who was a royal press secretary between 1988 and 2000, told the documentary that Sophie has been diligently working in the background for years.
He said: “She works very quietly behind the scenes with her charities, she gets things done.
“What is going to look right for the charity? And Sophie is very sensible when it comes to that.”
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Lady Louise, meanwhile, who many feared would struggle with her vision growing up, is now thriving at school.
She is entering her final year of schooling this month at St Mary’s Ascot, with her A-levels coming up next summer.
She studied English, history, politics and drama at AS-level and has been described as “quite clever” by her mother.
Sophie once said she hopes Louise will go to university, saying: “I wouldn’t force her, but if she wants to.”
Louise, who will turn 18 in November, has a big decision to make about her royal role.
While her parents chose not to style her with an HRH title, she is entitled to use it and may decide to start using it when she becomes an adult.
This decision may impact whether she becomes a full-time working royal or not.
However, it is thought to be unlikely that Louise will enter royal life, especially with Prince Charles’ ideas about a slimmed-down monarchy, and will instead likely pursue a life and career outside the royal sphere as her cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips have done.
Meanwhile, Louise’s brother James, Viscount Severn, who is 13 years old, attends Eagle House School near Sandhurst in Berkshire.
Eagle House is a preparatory school, so James is expected to move soon.
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