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Sophie Wessex’s touching moment with blind benefactor: ‘It was so natural’

Sarah Ferguson praises Sophie Wessex for speaking on menopause

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The countess has stepped further into the spotlight in recent months to fill the gap left by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down from royal duties. Sophie and her husband Prince Edward, have long been working on behalf of the Queen since abandoning their private ventures in the early Noughties. Yet they have recently emerged as a reliable source of support to the monarch, with Sophie reportedly a favourite of her mother-in-law, due to her commitment to the Royal Family.

Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper, and this week features Olivia Curno and Monica Smith of the Vision Foundation, a charity Sophie is patron of.

The charity does vital work to help people who are visually impaired, and Ms Curno described a touching and “natural” moment involving the Countess of Wessex and Ms Smith, who is blind.

After a charity tandem bike ride, Sophie was faced with droves of paparazzi. 

Ms Curno said: “She must have stood for 15 or 20 minutes chatting to Monica and the other visually impaired people. 

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“I don’t think she was editing what she was saying, she was incredibly natural, and even had a wonderful moment of really teasing our Head of Comms.

“There were all these huge professional cameras, then our Head of Comms with a go pro, and mid sentence she spotted him and said, ‘What happened there? That’s the world’s tiniest camera.’”

“She teased him a bit and then turned to Monica and was suddenly conscious she was no longer involved in the conversation, as Monica couldn’t see the camera. 

“She took Monica’s hand and said, ‘His Camera is this big’, and drew it on her hand.”

Ms Smith added: “That has obviously come completely from her heart.

“Nobody said to her this is what you need to do to describe something to a partially sighted person.”

Ms Curno said: “It felt very human and very normal and natural.”

Indeed, when the Earl and Countess of Wessex wedded in 1999 they both intended to maintain their careers alongside their royal duties. 

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Sophie continued to run her own public relations firm RJH.

However in 2001 she was forced to step down as chairman after a tabloid reporter posing as a sheikh recorded her boasting that potential clients would benefit from her royal connection. 

Prince Edward, was also caught up in controversy, after his ill-fated production company Ardent broke protocol and filmed Prince William while on university campus.

After the debacles the couple agreed to end their careers and become full time working members of the Royal Family.

Twenty years on, Sophie is now considered an extremely reliable and desirable choice for a number of royal engagements, whilst she receives much praise for her charity work.

Ms Curno: “She has been an extraordinary champion shining a real spotlight on site loss issues.

“She’s been involved with us but also with other national and international sight loss charities, and is a real champion of disability inclusion – this is clearly a cause close to her heart.”

Listen to Pod Save the Queen on all podcast platforms.

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