Sophie, Countess of Wessex turns 50, visits two of her charities

Sophie, Countess of Wessex turns 50, visits two of her charities

A huge happy birthday is in order.  Yesterday, January 20, was Sophie, Countess of Wessex‘s 50th birthday. Sophie spent part of the day with her husband, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, visiting two of her charities: Tomorrow’s People and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Trust.

Sophie blows out candles at Tomorrow's People

As Patron of Tomorrow’s People, Sophie (joined by Edward) visited the Tomorrow’s People Social Enterprises flower stall, coffee mob, and market garden at St. Anselm’s Church in Kensington, London. Tomorrow’s People helps disadvantaged adults and young people get jobs.

Sophie and Edward at flower mart for Tomorrow's People Sophie chats to people at flower mart for Tomorrow's People Sophie receives gift at flower mart for Tomorrow's People

Sophie was presented with a birthday cake made by a former Tomorrow’s People client who now works in a local bakery. Sophie also enjoyed a cup of coffee and received flowers and gifts, including a print of a map of London from a local company.

Sophie's cake at Tomorrow's People

Afterward, Sophie and Edward traveled to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where they saw demonstrations from companies helped by the Avoidable Blindness Program of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Trust.

Sophie and Edward chat to PEEK people

Sophie and Edward were shown a company called PEEK (Portable Eye Examination Kit – a device that hooks onto an iPhone to take high definition photos of the eye), and Sophie demonstrated the device using Edward as a prop. Sophie was officially announced as Vice-Patron of the Jubilee Trust.

Sophie checks Edward's eye for Jubilee Trust

Sophie wore a Prada coat, Gucci dress, Patrick Mavros sea urchin earrings, LK Bennett boots, and carried a Sophie Habsburg Design clutch.

More photos – Sophie with cake, Sophie receiving a gift, Sophie and Edward having a laugh and looking adorable together:

They released a new portrait of Sophie to mark her 50th birthday.

Sophie Countess of Wessex 50 birthday portrait

Photos: British Monarchy Twitter / Getty / Royal Household/Richard Young

74 thoughts on “Sophie, Countess of Wessex turns 50, visits two of her charities

  1. She’s so genuine- the pictures where she and Edward are smiling at each other are great. She’d be such a great role-model for Kate if Kate could disconnect from Carole. Impressed that she visits two charities on her birthday, much less a milestone one! Happy Birthday Sophie!

    1. I love the pic of them smiling at each other. They seem to actually like each other. I also love that Edward accompanied Sophie to two of HER charities, and he took the backseat and let her have her moment. Will never accompanies Kate to her charities, even though she accompanies him to his.

      1. You’ll also never see Will take a backseat to Kate at one of these because she constantly looks to him for what to do. She’ll have to believe in and be comfortable with herself a lot more before she’ll become anything like Sophie at her appearances.

          1. Compare pictures of Kate early at St. Andrews with those taken after her graduation. I have no actual proof that she has had cosmetic surgery, but it sure looks like it.

  2. I agree Sugar, W&K could both learn from them as far as being working royals and a couple. I think they are great and it’s really good to see that they like being in each others company.

    1. Right, that give and take is so important. I can see Sophie grabbing Edward to use him as her model for the eye picture and he goes along-nothing awkward with either although everyday must present things they’re not comfortable with or completely prepared for. That’s why Kate needs to make 2015’s resolution to be more prepared. She’s going to have time off. Let’s hope she uses it constructively to read up on her patronages. Maybe Duchess Dolittle can turn into My Fair Lady.

  3. Happy Birthday Sophie. I think that she is amazing. I like that she supports charities that are close to her heart, like the ones that support eye health issues as her daughter has the same issues. What better way to shine a light on an issue that she can speak from the heart with direct experience. I agree that Edward coming along was such a sweet gesture. If Kate were smart, she would align with Sophie. Maybe do a joint engagement or look for her as a mentor. She has the PR experience and the blessing of the Queen.

    I was speaking to my British friend and he said that he will be sad when the Queen passes as she is so beloved. He loves Anne, Charles, Camilla and Sophie and thinks that they can carry her legacy. He thinks that Harry’s only problem is that he is the second born. Will and Kate, in his opinion, are entitled and lazy and do not project continuity which is vital. How can they represent GB when they cannot see anything into fruition? They don’t allow insight to their hopes, dreams, or child. How can they provide insight and leadership to a nation?

    1. “What better way to shine a light on an issue that she can speak from the heart with direct experience.”

      I think this is Kate’s problem, she doesn’t have direct prior experience with any of her charities. I really think Kate is the type of person who needs to have a personal connection to something in order to feel empathy for it. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad; loads of people are like that. Not everyone can care for others. There is no way in hell I could ever be a nurse. The problem with Kate is that I really think someone else picked her charities for her, so she ended up with a bunch of stuff she doesn’t have any existing personal connection to and therefore finds it really hard to connect with. That’s why she lights up when she’s at a sports related charity visit or event, because there is that preexisting connection there. Kate needs to find charities that she has a personal connection to, that she really cares about, and give those her all.

      Your friend hit the nail on the head re Will and Kate.

      1. If she didn’t pick them, why did they make such a big hullabaloo about her taking her time to choose ones she cared about. If she only cares about sports related ones, then she should embrace them wholeheartedly. There’s an entire generation of kids out there who need an example of how to get off of their backsides and play at something, anything to get them moving. If she really enjoys that it could be such a good fit for her.

        And I wouldn’t have to hear her butcher the word “palliative” over and over again…lol

        1. “If she didn’t pick them, why did they make such a big hullabaloo about her taking her time to choose ones she cared about.”

          An excuse to put off work?

          This is just me speculating, but that’s what it seems like to me, because Kate seems so disinterested and has no connection to her charities, but lights up when doing sports related stuff.

          I think her people wanted to give her charities that no one could criticize – ie. sick kids. But they really should focus more on the sports related stuff since those are the only times she shows genuine interest. If she supported kids and young people being fit and healthy through sports, that would be great. And if she focused on women in sports, that would be great to – like going to the women’s final at Wimbledon instead of the men’s final.

          1. I think Kate is a very shallow, not very smart young woman whose only, only goal in life was to marry William. She has accomplished that. I think that if the Palace told her she didn’t ever have to make an appearance again, she wouldn’t.

            I’m privileged to live in the upper-middle class in the U.S. I, and most people I know, have interests beyond our professions. We do volunteer work and support charities with our time and extra money. I don’t believe Kate has these interests. Even when it comes to sports. She may enjoy being a spectator at events, but I’ll bet she’d rather not have any responsibilities related to an event. Whereas most people who are lucky to be blessed with good fortune, actively seek those responsibilities.

            Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any evidence that Kate is trying to become a better patron. Is there any evidence of preparing for an appearance by studying the subject, or by working with a speaking coach?

          2. Honestly, I don’t do volunteer work and I don’t support any charities, but I do have hobbies and interests. I wonder what Kate’s real hobbies are. don’t tell me photography because her photos of SE Asia told us all that she’s full of it on that one. People need hobbies and interests outside of their spouse.

            To answer your final question… no.

          3. Shopping, exercising, shopping for her 3 kitchens, watching her favorite TV shows, shopping, tanning, shopping, coming up with suitable reasons to not work and shopping.

  4. It needs remembering that Sophie didn’t even join the Royal Family until she was approximately Kates age, so it’s harsh to judge her now with 16 years experience against Kate who has had 3 years. Remember also the HUGE mistakes Sophie made at the beginning – the Fake Sheikh sting where she slagged off everybody.

    Kate may well be a bit lazy, and a bit slow to learn – but she (so far!) hasn’t fallen quite so spectacularly as Sophie did when she was a newbie. It’s only fair to judge them from the same platform, is all I’m saying.

    I’m sure KP would love to have the positive PR that Sophie generates, but perhaps not the learning curve that Sophie had to tread. She mucked up royally (pun intended) in the beginning.

    1. Hi Jennifer, then it makes more sense especially since Kate’s been struggling PR wise for over a year plus now for her to partner-up with Sophie. It’s this “go it alone” instead of KP recognizing that Sophie’s gone through the learning curve and would be a good mentor. I blame Kate for not being a voice in her life. She obviously wanted to marry Will, she had enough time to see that other family members have to work to and what that work entails. What did she do in the 10 years other than graduate college? She could have had speaking lessons, could have taken on some vanilla issues. Kate could also ask Sophie to appear with her at some functions or do something to change things for the better. Either she’s clueless or careless.

      1. Agreed, a very valid point. Look at Princess Mary, she learnt the language of her adopted country and has just shone in her role, hardworking and supports many and varied organizations, regardless of her family. With that by all accounts she is a loving wife, and mother. The Duchess has been too babied, she needs to start standing on her own two feet and take responsibility and charge. She could be out there doing so much and making such a difference, but so far she has been a bitter disappointment, doing just the bare minimum, enough to keep the peace. The Duchess seems to have no drive or initiative. You can say what you want about Diana Princess of Wales but she did get out there and certainly made a difference, supporting many charities greatly. Sophie is more quietly achieving. Yes she made mistakes early in the piece, but I dare say she has learnt from that. I don’t believe she gets enough credit for that she does do.
        Whoever is advising the Duke and Duchess if any needs to seriously re- evaluate, there game plan, they could do a lot better.

    2. Do you think Sophie would want to help Kate then? It is well documented that relations between Charles/William and Edward are strained – both from the St Andrews filming & from Charles’ plans to streamline the Monarchy. I would imagine it’s more a case of Ed & Sophie being jealous of the out of proprtion media attention Kate & William receive and rather enjoying their critics taking swipes recently.

      It’s an interesting point though, and I take it on board. I just imagine The Firm is more into jealousy and rivalry rather than sweet support.

      I criticise Kate for being work shy all the time, but no way could she have taken on charity work, no matter how vanilla, before she was engaged to William. She would have been crucified by the Press for being so presumptuous. I agree speaking practice would have been wise though – she needs to get a grip with that. So does William, come to think of it.

      I’m not anti-Sophie, or pro-Kate, for what it’s worth. I was just offering up that Sophie made horrendous mistakes when she was new and so far Kate hasn’t fallen down that hole.

      1. I should add I realise many people do charity work, without comment from the Press. But she had the tag of Waity Katey for a decade – being seen as a poor mans Princess Di would have only fanned those flames. She kept her head down, is all.

        1. I completely agree, Jennifer. Kate was in the hideous position of being ‘firebombed’ for either choice. Being presumptuous and getting involved, or not appearing to be involved at all (pre engagement). And she still is, judging by the comments. I blame William. You knew you were going to marry this girl, she loves you, why let the press drag her through the mud and name call for years? To see if she could “take it”?? That was the worst mistake he could make, that will directly affect people’s perception of her for the rest of her life…no matter what she ends up doing for the public. Truth is, she is an average lady, with average smarts and above average looks, who comes from a wealthy family even before she married into the lap of luxury. I just don’t think we can expect amazing things from this girl, for at least 10 years, as let’s face it, her main focus will be motherhood (as it should be!). But what about the rest of them? The reality is that any charity would rather have 5min of Kate’s attention than a full endorsement from any of the other royal ladies at this point. So, conversely, her little snippets of time are more far reaching than, say a snippet of time from Bea or Sophie (whom I admire as well). And as long as the public loves her, this will not change any time soon.

          1. “You knew you were going to marry this girl, she loves you, why let the press drag her through the mud and name call for years?” He didn’t know that.

            He is said to have stated that he didn’t know if he loved her enough to marry her and doubted he could be faithful to one woman. He proved he couldn’t be faithful through their 10 years of dating. He kept looking for someone better and he settled for her. He decided he had to marry, he married the one who was left standing. What she chose to do for those 10 years was her choice , not his.

          2. Ray, I disagree- if Kate was involved with, say a physical fitness charity stemming from her involvement with field hockey (St. Andrews has volunteering opportunities) it would be natural and w/o comment. Millions of college students do charity work every year. Once she graduates, she could still be working with them. But that would mean she couldn’t be Will’s little black dress, ready for him to put on whenever he wanted. And that was always Kate’s intent by her actions through today. Don’t try and make her a saint, and the handfuls that care about Kate are outweighed by the millions who don’t care about or for her.

          3. While I think William is an awful husband and person in general, I have to disagree a little on the “You knew you were going to marry this girl” thing. Kate was getting dragged through the mud by the press from early on, at a time when maybe William really didn’t know that he was going to marry Kate. I think letting his girl get dragged through the mud simply for being associated with him is a dick thing to do whether he knew he was going to marry her or not, but he may not have known he was going to marry her then, which is why he didn’t care that much.

      2. Flashing 15+ times on duty in 4 years. Caught shopping after refusing to work. Caught shopping instead of attending the Belgian funeral. Claiming to be too ill to work but flying to Mustique and Switzerland for vacation. Caught taking freebies via her family. Lying to the para-olympians and getting caught sunbathing topless instead of working for the paraolympians that day. Claiming to be a stay at home mom, but dumps her child every day to go shopping. Being the laziest royal spouse on recent record.

        Kate Middleton’s fall is slow, continuous, and is already farther than Sophie fell by far.

      3. People do charity work every single day of the week. She would NOT have been criticized for doing charity work. There are so many organizations and so many ways one can help these organizations. I seriously doubt anyone would have criticized her for committing to working with a charity while she was dating William. Instead, it may have helped her on-call, falling out of clubs image she developed. And if she were worried about the press, she could have very easily done things quietly with an organization. Your comments about the charity work just don’t work for me.

        As for any jealousy Sophie may feel, I think she would have happily helped Kate if Kate had been receptive to being helped. William and Kate have a very “we know what’s best for us” attitude. It would only help her to work with someone from the family.

          1. You had points and it’s a healthy discussion. That’s what I like about KMR, she hosts a real viewpoint conversation, not scripted drivel. I’m glad you see what we’re saying

      4. The press keeps reiterating, or used to, that Sophie “took Kate under her wing” when Kate first married into the family. Don’t know if that’s really true or not, though.

        Ever since Kate joined the family, Sophie’s style has changed. She’s dressing much more stylishly now than she used to.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if Sophie is a little envious of the attention Kate gets.

        I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there is envy running rampant in that family, because of all the reports that Andrew is upset with Charles and how Andrew wanted his daughters to get some spotlight that Will and Kate take up but Charles won’t let him or something. Also, it’s been said Charles was immensely envious of the attention Diana got, and now he doesn’t like Will and Kate getting all the attention. There were also claims that Edward was upset that he got left off the balcony during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. I don’t know how much of this stuff is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

        1. Like any family there are probably pockets of jealousy, envy, bitterness because one got something the other didn’t, but if Sophie harbors any envy towards Kate I can understand it. She’s been working her backside off for the BRF for years and along comes Kate, who doesn’t want to work, rarely gets it right when she does and she’s the model to which they are held up to. But then again, she has a good relationship with HM and she knows she’s not married to an heir or heir to the heir and may just let it all slide off her back. But it must be very frustrating for her at times.

          1. Oh I totally understand if Sophie envies the attention Kate gets, because Sophie does do so much work for the RF and doesn’t get half the recognition that Kate gets. Perfectly understandable; I’d be frustrated, too.

    3. Sophie fell for a sting, a set-up. What really happened and what was said was twisted by the press. HM heard the full unedited tapes and stood by Sophie.

      1. And at least Sophie learned from her mistake and never repeated it. You can’t say the same about Kate who just absolutely goes her own way and has committed the same errors time and again. This clearly demonstrates for me the difference in the level of commitment, obligation and dedication between the two women in their respective roles. It’s like comparing a diamond to a cubic zirconia.

        The Queen clearly loves and trusts Sophie for a definite reason.

  5. Enjoying seeing photos of Sophie on her significant birthday! I’m going to say less cerebral stuff, and comment about what she is wearing and that I love her outfit – especially her coat! – she looks very relaxed and comfortable; her hair looks lovely as well and the style really suits her..I think Edward has grown into himself over the years, if you see what I mean…

  6. It is interesting how we all view Kate and Sophie from so many different opinions. I do not feel the issues of age, when they married or years around the BRF are the issue. Diana was barely out of her teens, but hit the ground running. Sophie made one big public mistake, but not a series of mistakes year after year like the DoC.

    The issues I have with Kate are the attitude of being entitled, lack of work ethic, no real connection to her role/work and just enjoying all the perks. Being royal in this day and age, is not just showing up at a few events, and looking pretty. While some people are able to repair their reputations, you still only get one chance to make a first impression.

    Perhaps, due to my professional background, I view Kate from a harsher lense. I have friends who graduated from medical school at 23 years old. We were responsible for peoples lives in our early 20’s. We all make mistakes, but Kate’s lack of effort is very unimpressive.

    For myself and I believe others, Kate had been around the royals for 10 years, she claimed during the engagement interview she planned on working hard and she has not kept her promise. At 33 she should be adult and take the role seriously, not just enjoy the perks.

    Sophie has grown on me and I have come to recognize her hard work, genuine interest in her patronages and style. Kate needs to look at Sophie and try to follow a similar path.

  7. Happy Birthday Sophie!!! It has taken a while but Sophie has certainly hit her stride as a royal. She seems to balance royal duties and her family life well and has the support of a loving husband. They are so cute together and I really liked the fact that Edward joined her today in order to spend time with her on her birthday. Congratulations to Sophie for being chosen as Vice Patron of the Queen’s Jubilee Trust, Her Majesty must have complete confidence in Sophie to offer this position to her.

    1. I agree, for HM to chose Sophie as Vice Patron of the Jubilee Trust is a big deal. HM clearly loves and trusts Sophie very much.

  8. Sophie looks so awesome in these pictures. I love her outfit, the colors, her hair…just the whole look. Excellent point, KMR, of how nice it is that Edward attended with her on her birthday. These two clearly have a very deep friendship and strive to support each other. That is so different from W and K, who just don’t have that. Too much we see K on her own. Too much W is obviously avoiding his responsibilities as husband and father. It’s sad.

    1. Thanks to Anna at the Countess of Wessex blog, I’ve been reading what they said during their engagement interview. This was only a few years after Anne, Charles, and Andrew got divorced, and they were asked why their marriage would last, and they said it’s because they were best friends, and that the foundation for a lasting marriage was friendship. So lovely to see.

  9. Sophie and Edward do seem to love each other very much. Happy Belated Birthday, Sophie!
    And, as previously posted, how amazing to be working on such an important birthday. She does seem to take her royal role seriously and enjoys herself while doing so. It’s nice to see such a happy couple working together and getting involved in worthy causes.
    As for the comments concerning Kate: I do believe that Diana, who was much younger when she wed and was cut no slack the way Kate was, did hit the ground running and worked, worked worked.
    Kate seems to resent the obligations that come with her role. She really does not step up to the plate as much as she should. Nor, has she taken on her own cause(s) in a truly worthy way.
    I think she really thought things would be different for her. I think William sold her a bill of goods concerning what was expected of her. I think he is not too pleased with what is expected of him, either.

    1. Whether true or not (and I have NO way of knowing, obviously) I have always gotten the impression that William thinks he can do whatever he wants, because he is the future King – so who is going to stop him from doing whatever he wants to do? If this is in fact the case, I’d suggest he study a little more history!

    2. Yeah, I think William is resentful of the obligations that come with his role, and therefore Kate is resentful of the obligations that come with her role.

    3. Oh, absolutely.

      They lived so many years together enjoying the royal perks (even if not yet living in their own castle *apartment*) that I’m sure they thought they would live the same way even after their wedding.

      At some point I got the impression she was enjoying the spotlight, perhaps because she felt vindicated and elated when he (finally) put a ring on it. I sometimes think she has to pretend to hate the press and the royal protocol to make him happy – I say this because I remember a royal reporter ran with the story that their engagement announcement was scheduled for a much earlier date but then William in a fit postponed it. All because Kate had smiled and/or waved at a paparazzi while she played tennis.

      1. I have thought for a long time that she clearly loved the spotlight of being a royal girlfriend, even with her bad press, and she totally had to fake hating the press to William because he hates the press. She totally played him.

        1. I agree. She’s always loved the attention – when she wants it. James Whittaker said it about her, that she always knew exactly where the cameras were and played up to them.

          Look at the private wedding events they attend. That is when she tends to wear her hair up or in a complicated half-up-half-down in a new style — guaranteed to get a photo published because she’s doing something different with her hair.

    1. Supposedly he’s been studying for his exams for his air ambulance job. But who knows where he is or what he’s actually been doing. Kate has worked more in 2015 so far than Will.

        1. lol too true. I find it hard to believe that William is oh so dedicated to his flying exams when he gave no shits about his bespoke agriculture class at Cambridge. Clearly this boy is not interested in studying.

  10. Anybody else see the sickening excuse for journalism on Kate that was in the daily mail yesterday? How Kate’s fashionable bump is inspiring women.

    1. Glad I missed it. I swear the DM is one of the reasons why I am truly annoyed by Kate as of late.
      That, followed by the Kate Army of Fans… that more than her empty agenda.

      1. Sloooow news day obviously; she’s incommunicado holed up in Mustique and the rags are scraping the bottom of the barrel for some newsworthy items (if you can call the inspirational bump newsworthy).

        1. Nauseating that the crotch-clutch is likened to Madonna-esc. The suck-ups are scared because Keira Knightley’s pregnancy (yawn) is more interesting than Kate’s.

  11. So KMR this will shock you I know :). But there are early reports that William, Kate and George arrived in Mustique today. Just like we thought, Kate does a few appearance and 3 days later jumps on a plane. Could that have been any more obvious? Btw, what happened to William’s job?

    1. According to royal reporters William has been “studying for his exams” for his air ambulance job, but who knows what he’s really doing. Probably Jecca Craig.

  12. Sophie is beautiful. Her outfit is lovely, I want it! She seems so genuine and is always so elegant. Looking SUPER GREAT for 50 (she seriously doesn’t seem that much older than Kate).
    I think it is telling that she decided to spend a milestone birthday at 2 charities, knowing they would enjoy the spotlight vs other functions where/when she doesn’t have much coverage. Smart move.

    She reminds me of Princess Diana. She might not like it, but I do see a resemblance.
    Her husband, while loving, is quite unfortunate looking. He reminds me of William A LOT. I think they will look like twins in 1-2yrs.

    1. I think it’s great Sophie spent her birthday at two of her charities. The press she got for her birthday is probably the most press she’s gotten in a while. So it’s great that she used that to her advantage and drew attention to her charities.

  13. Sophie killed two birds with one stone: she showed how great she looks at the big 5-0 and how selfless she is by spending her birthday at two charities rather than going into seclusion like someone else we know. And some self-advertising for herself as well as for her charities is a good thing; promoting the charities is the objective of a royal patron. And it’s the icing on her birthday cake that Edward came along and played the sidekick on her big day. They’re the poster couple for a great and successful royal marriage.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top