Sophie took part in the Foundation of Light’s 20th birthday celebrations by joining its director and a few of its members in a video chat. The Countess of Wessex, who is the patron of Sunderland AFC’s charity, expressed her pride for the work the organisation does on a day-to-day basis.
She said: “I couldn’t be more proud to be patron.
“I’ve been really lucky to see the whole thing changing and developing and just becoming more engaging with everybody and fulfilling so many people’s dreams.
“And to have been able to launch Beacon was a real highlight for me and I know it was the combination of so many dreams and so much efforts from so many people.
“It has been a wonderful journey – and I’m certainly not stopping now!
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do, it’s forever changing and I think that’s what so clever about the foundation, it has always adapted to the needs of the people, that who it is there for, and those are the lives that it changes and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Beacon of Light, mentioned by Sophie, is a sports, health, education and events venue in the City of Sunderland.
During the video call, Sophie heard from youngsters who have been supported by the Foundation on how they have been coping with the pandemic and lockdown measures.
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Young Josie Dobson said she has been “struggling” with her homework.
She said: “My mum and dad are off to work so if I get stuck I need to wait for my mum when she is on a break so she can help. It’s hard sometimes.”
Sophie replied: “It is hard, isn’t it?
“It must be very frustrating for you, I really empathise with you, it’s not easy but you are not alone.”
Sophie joined the Royal Family in 1999, upon marrying Prince Edward.
After retaining her job in public relations for a few years, she became a full-time working royal in 2002.
The Countess of Wessex’s work focuses on supporting young people, shining a light on conflict-driven sexual violence and avoidable blindness.
Throughout the years, she is believed to have become particularly close to the Queen, who favours her company whenever she is in Balmoral or Sandringham and goes to church.
A former royal equerry told the Sun: “If Sophie Wessex is staying at Sandringham then you can pretty much guarantee the Queen will ask her – usually last thing on a Saturday night – if she would like ‘a lift’ to the church. And the same happens at Balmoral.
“The Queen likes to be completely calm before church and she finds Sophie’s presence soothing.
“Who gets the backseat is also one of those quirky royal ways that signals who is in favour.”
One royal commentator highlighted how Sophie adapted to her royal role despite being an outsider.
Commentator Robert Jobson told the Daily Telegraph: “[The Countess] is probably the best example of an outsider coming into the family and learning on the job.
“She’s very much the Queen’s favourite, and you’ll notice that whenever there is a family holiday or gathering, Sophie and Edward often stay a while longer than the rest.”
Sophie and Edward live at Bagshot Park in Surrey with their two children, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn.
Upon the birth of their children, the couple chose not to give them the HRH styles, leaving it up to them when they turn 18 to decide about their future.