Sophie, Countess of Wessex trains for DofE Diamond Challenge

Sophie, Countess of Wessex trains for DofE Diamond Challenge

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as something something to the Duke of Edinburgh Award (I know she’s not Patron, but the new royal website won’t tell me exactly what she is since it’s a horrible website), will take part in the DofE Award Diamond Challenge to mark the Award’s 60th anniversary. Sophie’s challenge is cycling 445 miles from Edinburgh to London.

Sophie DofE challenge 2

Sophie will cycle from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Buckingham Palace over seven days in September, accompanied by a small team of service people from four of her military affiliations: RAF Wittering, 5th Battalion The Rifles, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, and Corps of Army Music.

In honor of her challenge, Sophie wrote a piece and made a video talking about why she chose to undertake this ride. Sophie wrote:

    “In September this year I shall be cycling 445 miles from the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in support of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Diamond Anniversary Appeal.
    “Some months ago I was asked by the Award (DofE) to take up a challenge in celebration of this incredible milestone. The funds being raised by me as well as many others all over the country will give thousands more young people in the UK the opportunity to experience the life changing opportunities the Award offers. I have personally witnessed the incredible impact the Award has on every young life it touches, so I had no hesitation in agreeing to play my part.
    “I believe every young person should be given the chance to take up the DofE. It offers each participant the chance to become motivated, self confident, community aware individuals regardless of their background, ability or culture, helping them realise their potential and in many cases turning lives around for the better. At the gold level it equips young people with the self- belief and work-ready skills they need to succeed.
    “So what could I do? It had to be something outside my comfort zone that was challenging enough to require a high level of personal commitment. Cycling is something I only tend to do with my children and never for more than the odd hour. It is something I’ve always found to be one of the more testing forms of exercise physically and mentally, so cycling it had to be!
    “I am now training hard and trying to get to grips with the kit, the fitness level, the seat(!), the aching shoulders, wrists and backside, the terrifying roads, the hills and worst of all the cleats! Yes I have off several times, but the bruises are fading and each time out gets a little better. The training is hard work but I am determined to be fit enough to complete my journey. Your support in sponsoring me will make me all the more determined.
    “There are a number of people who have been incredibly supportive of me in putting this event together. I would like to thank the team who will be accompanying me on my ride, in particular Jamie from Boardman Bikes and Rachel from RMAS. David, Pippa and Martin, thank you all for your incredible support in sorting the logistics, route etc. and in ensuring that we don’t have to sleep under the stars!
    “The DofE sometimes struggles to gain the attention it deserves. I hope by doing this bike ride I will not only help them achieve their Diamond Challenge Fund goals, but may also interest others in doing their own challenges no matter how big or small. If you think you could do something for the DofE this year, you will be helping thousands of young people all over the country.”


Here’s a link to Sophie’s JustGiving page.

Here’s Sophie’s video:

Sophie gave a short interview to BBC Breakfast about the Challenge, but she also talked about her children. I’ve transcribed some interesting parts in which she talks about behind-the-scenes of the photoshoot with The Queen and her great-grandchildren and Sophie’s children, and how her children will have to get jobs and earn their own living when they are older.

On the photo of the Queen with her great grandchilden and Sophie’s children:

    “I don’t think any of us knew quite what to expect. Anything could have gone wrong, because we had some quite little-ease (sp?) in the picture. Actually they all behaved fantastically well. I think actually the better photograph would have been the one from behind the children looking to all of the adults trying to get all the children to smile and laugh, to look engaging and everything.”

On bringing her children up out of the spotlight, they’ll have to earn their own living:

    “Certainly when they were very young we tried to keep them out of it, only because for their sakes to grow up as normally as possible we felt was quite important. And, you know, they’re going to have to go out and get a job and earn a living later on in life, and if they’ve had as normal a start in life as they can possibly get then hopefully that will stand them in good stead.”

[transcript of video]

Sophie was at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst yesterday for training where these photos were taken and where she gave her BBC interview. Photos by Corporal Jonathan Lee van Zyl.

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113 thoughts on “Sophie, Countess of Wessex trains for DofE Diamond Challenge

  1. Like Harry Sophie is a star, I think, and really not appreciated as she should be!

    I want to donate to help Sophie reach her goals. Maybe just $20 or something. I know people who have done the DofE (online friends) and it really changed their lives for the better in equipping them with skills and confidence.

    1. Me too! Great challenge for her!

      I like hearing her : someone posted on this site a link to one of her speech. I was impressed by her capacity to speech without reading her notes.
      I read that normally after the death of HM, she will be Duchess of Edinbourg. RPalmer said that Charles doesn’t fund his sister/brother when he will be King.

  2. Sophie looks beautiful and I love her all the more for challenging herself for a charity. I like the idea of her proving her involvement more than just showing up and shaking a few hands. Even though she says that she has tried to protect her children privacy, I think she is going about it in the right way, taking them to a few events and such.

    I hope Charles reconsiders his choice to reduce the number of working royals when he takes the crow. Camilla is having back problems and osteoporosis issues, W&K are lazy and there is only so much Harry can do that gets counted as royal duties. If he cuts outs his brothers and sister the numbers will plummet.

    1. Invictus isn’t even counting on the CC for Harry aside for a generic comment about him attending. Just one remark. It’s awful.

      1. Out of all the invictus events, that one remark will be the only occassion that will count towards his engagement numbers. Anything that gets a mention usually counts towards the final tally.

        1. I hope that the photoshoot for Vogue doesn’t count like work… The exhibition to her photos was counted, what a joke!

      2. Oh Ellie, I agree. Kate giving birth and seeig her portrats at NPG being counting as “work” on the CC and not Invictus Games is more than awful, it is DISGUSTING.

        1. How is Lazy Katie looking at herself considered work? It’s more narcissistic than anything. Yet Harry who has created his vision into a reality with these games. It’s not considered work according to CC. Absolutely disgusting.

      3. Harry’s work will never be counted over WK. It’s bad press. So, people often see Harry’s numbers and just assume he’s lazy. The reality is he’s constantly on the go.

        Military desk job still. Personal causes. AND royal causes. Sometimes even the events he attends in a royal capacity are bundled from a few into a single event.

        The man is not at rest often. It’s extremely admirable.

        1. Well said!

          Is’s a shame the Firm, HM and POW allow whiny lazy B*k middleton to place Prince Harry below the lazy duo who seem on their way out…

        2. That is awful! Harry has probably spent months working on the IG behind the scenes than W&K have spent “working” all year. Do you really think they are deliberately keeping his numbers down so as to not outshine W&K? I admit to seeing his low numbers and being disappointed, but I read on LoveLola that he works with a veterans group about 3 days a week. Why isn’t this being shouted from the treetops?

          1. Prince Harry himself might want to keep it quiet and under the radar. I think some public figures see it as a form of respect to the veterans and their service to keep the media out of it. Plus, I’m sure Harry is doing it because he truly cares not for the PR (huge difference between him and Kate). I know when the President and First Lady here in the U.S. (and the previous POTUS and FLOTUS) visit the military hospital in D.C. regularly and don’t publicize it because it’s about the vets and not about the PR. KP should could use the good PR though…

          2. Harry’s work with veterans is counted as private time and grouped as part of his private job being with the military. It only (imo) highlights he truly cares and it’s not to boost numbers. He’s appearing to be in it for the betterment of the cause and the people and not his own image.

      4. Amen!

        Let’s hope the Earl and Countess Wessexs received the Wimbledon patron when the hardworking Duke of Kent retires, instead of lazy km and middletons.

      5. Are you able to search the court circular online? Because I can’t find a way to search the court circular on the new website and they don’t have an online contact form to say anything about it. I really hate this new website. It’s now the worst royal website I’ve visited.

        EDIT: Never mind, I found it. I still hate this website, though.

        1. The website is tough sometimes. Very backwards.
          Even the twitter reporters note how Harry is on the go, but it’s never counted in the CC. They’ve been doing this a lot more lately.

    2. Although her children won’t be working royals, they’ll probably be scrutinized by the media in some way, so I agree it’s good to prepare them a little for public life.

      As for the rest, I’m really curious to see what will happen after the Queen dies.

    3. I like that Sophie asked herself how she could help and then DID something. Will asked about how they could help during the recent holiday tour and the answer was… I wonder how long we will wait for an answer.

      1. Agreed. I like the way she detailed out what she was thinking, and then shared how it’s not easy to do and her struggles to accomplish her goal. It makes her very human and likeable. She’s great

  3. The irony of this venture is that Kate is supposed to be the super sporty royal whose sporty achievements or interests are constantly being played up yet we never quite see her doing those things. Sophie is always visibly doing and supporting the things Kate is supposed to be interested in as far as sports eg Sophie is Patron of Hockey England, Sophie attends various Wimbledon matches irrespective of gender and actually met Edward at a tennis match ( real tennis, but i hope she is made patron of Wimbledon not Kate), Sophie does alot for DoE awards, yet Kate took DoE at school and apparently achieved gold award yet we’ve never seen her support the awards as an adult. Kate attends Wimbledon, but only the men’s matches and only in the later stages.

    1. I don’t see Kate taking part to these sport challenge, (but maybe an announce about taking part to the marathon for 2017?). When she takes the trail with William, they were immaculate without sweat. It will not good for her fashion image.

      On another note, another info about an engagement for Kate on KP’s twitter : I read some Kate’s fan complain that there are too much Harry’s infos…

      1. I love marathons. Not after mile 14 generally, but the atmosphere is incredible!
        I would shut my mouth for a year if Kate ran a marathon. It takes so much training, but she appears to have time for it. Her posture would improve. She would have to eat more and gain much weight and muscle for energy to burn. And the level of dedication to overpower your mind wanting to quit is no joke. It’s an act that falls all on you. No one can run that race for you.

        Clem. It’s such a reflection on a Kate fanbase they would rather not hear about Harry’s Invictus. When i’ve read those proKate sites and fans they rarely even focus on what cuase she’s “promoting awareness” on and it’s all about appearances.

    2. I was thinking much the same thing when I started reading this post. Sophie is immensely sensible, has the personal maturity, empathy and work ethic to lend active support to whoever needs it. I’d imagine any organisation would be thrilled to have her support in such a tangible way: Sophie delivers.

      Kate could have joined Sophie, particularly if she achieved gold DoE and where her constructed pubic persona claims her to be sporty and super fit. Kate, with a history of disinterest in service, would have made excuses. Clearly, the objectives of DoE had no impact on Kate.

      Kate’s interest in sport seem to extend to (a) a means to maintain thinness, and (b) being around/ flirting with attractive men. It’s always about her; she is shallow beyond belief.

    3. Much admiration for Sophie! A truly sensible, bright, hardworking royal. I bet she’s not bringing her stylist and hairdresser on the bike tour to “freshen her up.”

      1. Lol. Poor stylist and glam squad. Having to endure that trek irrespective of whether they like to trek just so Kate could appear fresh and fabulous in any photos taken.

        You can take the girl out of London nightclubs, where she perfected that routine, but you can never get her to show herself puffy, sweaty with effort even when the occasion gives such a result.

        So if Kate took up the marathon, bike or running, her stylists and glam squad would have to take them up to, with regular touch ups throughout the marathon so Kate would be picture perfect at all times!!!

        1. That’s what I don’t understand. To see someone huffing, puffing, and sweating make you more human and likeable—and it’s darn easy! Geez, you don’t even have to endure a full-day photoshoot with multiple wardrobe changes to look like an Amish country girl to fake simplicity and pretend to be “one of us.”

        2. I would have a lot more respect for her if we actually saw her participating and sweating or something for her sporting events.

        3. Spot on, what a vain entitled lazy lamebridge Middleton.

          Compare to a true royal – King Henry – walking around the Games in Orlando, enjoying an ice cream bar.

    4. Wasn’t Kate supposedly doing a charity rowing thing when she split from William? And the moment they got back together, she bailed because she didn’t want to take the spotlight away from the charity? Um… is she an idiot or something! Isn’t that the whole point of charities? Hind sight is 20/20. Even then, instead of using her power to help the charity, she shrunk back to the shadows because she got William back. Clearly goes to show she only used the media to her advantage to show her micro minis to get William back.

  4. Go Sophie Go!!!! What an incredible challenge she’s undertaking, just the training alone would be enough to make most people think twice! I am so glad that Edward, and by extension Sophie, is taking over the D of E awards, they can bring some freshness to the awards scheme while honoring it’s traditions and founder.

    Sophie is definitely my second favorite woman in the BRF, of course the Queen is number one, because she just goes about her work, though I’m sure she would love more publicity not for herself but for her charities, no drama, no broken promises, she just gets on with the day. And even though she’s had a few fashion missteps (bird nest collars anyone?) she accessorizes beautifully, knows what works for her but isn’t afraid to play around with fashion and have some fun with her choices.

    I go back and forth a bit about E&S keeping their kids out of the public eye and trying to give them a “normal” childhood. Sometimes I feel that since I bitch about W&K hiding G&C away, I should extend that to other royals as well but on the other hand E&S’s children will neither be King (or Queen) and will have to earn a living on their own so maybe keeping them out of the public eye is a good thing? I wonder if it’s the term “normal childhood” that grates on me so much, I mean really how “normal” is one’s childhood when one lives in a 53 room mansion? I understand that “normal” is relative but gosh am I tired of the royals using that term.

    1. What she hasn’t said in that video regarding the biggest reason why they didn’t show the kids to begin with, is that they had very serious illnesses as infants, particularly Louise who had to endure several operations to correct her eyes. That was several operations over a few years.

      They fact that it took them years to present their kids to the public was pure coincidence rather than design. However, the current prevailing mood is that only top 6 royals + spouses and kids will work for the BRF, so Sophie is spinning the situation to reflect that reality as if that was always the thought from day one.

      1. I don’t see how the BRF can justify the expense of maintaining 8 or so royal residences when there will be 6-8 working members of the family in 10-15 years. I agree that E&S should be allowed to work, as well as Anne (good luck trying to stop her). But with all the Queen’s grandkids excluded except for Charles’, the BRF will have a numbers problem on their hands shortly.

        1. Compared to other monarchies, how many money receive the BRF? Because if the BRF works less, it is legitimate to less money to give to the BRF.

          Personnaly, I find the mecanismes of payment very confusing (but I think that is researched).

    2. I see your point about wanting to be fair in your critiques and also critique E+S for “hiding” the children. However, I think Sophie’s point that James and Louise will have real jobs someday covers this. It’s unlikely that G+C (as children of a monarch) will have real jobs. But by the time Louise and James are older, they won’t be core members of the monarchy, but nieces and nephews of the monarch, like Sarah Chatto. If the intention isn’t for the children to be full-time royals and get paid, then they should be allowed their privacy.

    3. It is absolutely the term “normal childhood” that bothers me. “Normal” is relative and anytime a royal uses that phrase I want to slap them in the face and ask: “What the hell do you mean by ‘normal’?”

      1. I find “normal” an odd term for them to use, but I think they use “normal” in place of “non-royal”. That is how they look at the world. Royal v everyone else.

  5. Absolutely love Sophie and I agree Charles is shooting himself in the foot if he doesn’t keep Edward and Sophie involved with the duties. He can’t seriously be expecting W&K to step up when it’s obvious they have no desire to do so.

    Her skin is gorgeous. I couldn’t help comparing her 50 year old skin with no make-up in sunlight to Kate’s plastered on face that looks old even with the make-up. Whatever Sophie is doing she’s doing it right. Kate should take notes.

    I’m going to pledge something to her. 445 miles is a huge trek, especially for someone who’s never done a trip like that before. I know she’ll succeed, she just has that sense of determination to her.

    On another note, the comment she made about keeping the kids as normal as possible early on as they will have to get jobs later, makes me wonder if W&K are thinking along the same lines.

    Oh well, between Harry and Sophie we’ve gotten some great stories. Thanks KMR!

    1. “the comment she made about keeping the kids as normal as possible early on as they will have to get jobs later, makes me wonder if W&K are thinking along the same lines.”

      Hrm….. I wonder if they’re thinking either the monarchy as a whole will be gone by then or that their family specifically will be gone by then. I mean, I think the obvious answer is that W&K are paranoid, but you brought up an interesting point.

  6. OMG! A post on Sophie! (Another day of positive posts! Yay!) It’s another great day!

    I love Sophie! She is beautiful. I respect what she has achieved for the Queen and the Royal Family over the many years. She has proven herself. And now this …! Wow.

    I love this challenge. I wonder whether she’ll do a video with Prince Philip who is the Patron of DofE Awards? It would be perfect!

    Go Sophie!

  7. Isn’t Sophie amazing! A wonderful role model for girls and women everywhere.
    How strong and capable she is and how fearless, too. She is really working hard to make a difference whenever she takes on an interest. I’m impressed by her and wish her well as she makes her way from beautiful Holyrood Palace to Buckingham Palace. She’ll be hearing cheers from all across the globe. We will all be shouting out to her, “Ride, Sophie, ride!”On a personal note, I think Edinburgh is my favorite city in the world. I love it there!
    KMR, thanks for bringing us such inspirational stories about Harry and Sophie and all the people who join them to make a difference.

    1. I agree with you Jenny. Sophie is a true role model for women. Service and duty she truly believes in. I think that Charles plan when he becomes King to scale down the monarchy is stupid. Edward and Sophie contribute alot. As well as Anne. He really needs to utilize the members of the family that are not work shy. He also better keep his mother and father’s wishes of making Edward the Duke of Edinburgh when that day does come.

      1. Eleanor, I agree with you, too. I so hope Charles does not scale back the monarchy — unless he scales back W and K!!!

      2. I agree that he should keep Anne, Sophie, and Edward working. I do have to agree with Charles on an overall scaling down, though. As the York sisters get older, I don’t think they should be full-time Royals. I don’t think Louise and James should be working royals either. Similarly, someone needs to do something about Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and their grace and favor home, they are atrocious and have generated a good amount of bad press for the family over the years.

        1. I agree with you Lindsey. The extended family needs to be trimmed down. Senior royals are the top six. So when the day comes when the Queen and Prince Philip do pass. Who is going to step up? Anne gives it her all now. The woman has a phenomenal work ethic. Edward and Sophie do a wonderful job as well. Harry has come a long way in growth and maturity. He has done wonderful things for his charities. Which leaves the Lazy Duo. When are they going to step up and accept the jobs that they seem to relish the perks. Yet do not respect job and titles that they hold. Do you really think these two are going to do the engagements that the Queen and Prince Philip do? Or that Charles, Camilla, Anne, Edward, or Sophie seem to manage.

          I do believe the fat needs to trimmed with the extended relatives. Yes the Duke of Kent is a grandson of past sovereign. He is cousin of the Queen. Yet when Charles ascends the thrown he will be a second cousin of the sovereign. It just a little ridiculous to keep them.

          1. I wonder if at this point it would even be worth taking away the homes and salaries from the Kents and Gloucesters.I would assume at this age they will natural phase out and “cut the fat” as they pass.

            Charles certainly will have himself in a conundrum after the Queen passes. Many people seem to favor keeping the monarchy around because the like the Queen. The whole family is going to have to work their tails off to fill in the holes of what she and PP accomplish.

  8. You had me at Diamond!

    Love Sophie as always. She’s a diamond for the BRF.

    What I’m looking for is a 5K or race where you win a Diamond tiara at the end. Talk about women killing themselves for that! National fitness would jump 50%

    1. A tiara??? Have the Duchess of Cornwall present it and not only would I be there, I’d win it! A tiara presented by the current BRF goddess of tiara hair??? Yeah, it would be mine… 🙂

      1. That would be fun! I’m going to submit the idea to one of Cam’s charities and see if they like it, maybe dress up tiaras instead of medals for when you finish. Not to take away anything from the symbol of royal stature, but something to bind us all together and we are all ambassadors for a cause, like funds for rape kits etc.

  9. I hate how we can’t admire other royals without dragging Kate into it, but the comparisons are just begging to be made.

    When I read this post, one of the first things I thought was: why can’t Kate do something like this? She excels at sports and is 15 years younger. I also look at Sophie’s glow and wonder what in the world is wrong with Kate (a pampered rich woman who has the best beauty treatments available) that her skin looks so bad at age 34.

    Everybody in the BRF makes William and Kate look bad in comparison. Even Pippa does more charity work than Kate. How long can this go on? Something has to give, right?

    1. I think security is going to be a major issue. It’s problematic for Sophie to be out in the open like this, but I am sure things will be worked out for the best. I wish Sophie and all the competiton a safe, secure journey! I wonder if that is one reason why Kate won’t participate. Just a thought. Still, I hate to be so suspicious, but I do think K is very lazy and would not do this!

      1. I think the main reason Kate isn’t participating is because she doesn’t do much of anything period. She’ll use the excuse of not wanting to be away from the kids for seven days, although she did it for her bucket list trip. There’s also possibly not looking her best on camera at all times. Can’t see her being able to stop every few miles to be freshened up for the cameras. And she’s have to take off Big Blue for the ride (I know that will never happen). Security for any member of the family would probably be problematic, but they’d figure it out if Kate really wanted to do it.

      2. I could also see Sophie and not Kate involved in this particular event because Edward will presumably take over the DoE award when his father passes.

  10. Sorry I’m OT but it was announced that fair Waity will deign to see Ben Ainslie this month. She doesn’t want to create an expectation that she will give out shamrocks each year but I notice that does not apply to a Ben A. event–she even showed up when his event was cancelled last year. It also won’t apply to Wimbledon. Good King Harry is making them look pathetic!!!!

  11. I repost this comment on this page too because I am not so sure that people will see this comment on the Harry post.

    I post this article because I am shocked that the press is telling that (even if I am alright with the majority of this article).

    Honestly I don’t think that Harry will be happy to be King; but he has certainly the qualities to be King.

    I imagine William reading the article…

    1. I was watching a rerun of A Place to Call Home TV series and the grandmother was confronting her grandson. I am paraphrasing, but she said something along the line of, “You live a privileged life and the price you pay is respect for it.” I admit it did make me think of W&K. They have no respect for the privileged life they live. Harry does.

    2. Genuine question: is Piers Morgan taken seriously in England?

      I think it will be more shocking if other papers start to follow along.

      1. Piers says many things that many people agree with but don’t have the guts to say themselves. And he loves KP ( a cricketer) so for that alone I love him. Agree or disagree please be assured he is very bright and knows exactly what he is doing and why.

      1. I can imagine William’s head getting redder ad redder and finally exploding.

        Ma Midds will be having a fit and trying to push Pippa into Harry’s arms so that she can hedge her bets.

        1. Tanya, I’m laughing so hard after reading your comments. William’s head getting redder and redder…. Ma Midds having a fit and pushing Pippa into Harry’s arms! OMG! Everyone needs a moment of major levity each and every day. Your comment has given me a week’s worth! Thanks!!!!

          What’s happening with your big purchase? Still moving forward? I hope so.

  12. Thanks, Clem I am surprised by this article, but glad to see Mr. Morgan is so in Harry’s corner.
    I don’t think Harry wants the job, either, but Oh, I agree that he would make an amazing King.

  13. Thanks for this fantastic post on my favorite British Royal! I really admire Sophie– she works hard and gets very little recognition, in comparison to other members of the family. I would welcome as many posts about her activities as you have the time and inclination to offer! Sophie is such a great role model, and it seems that her kids are growing up with good heads on their shoulders.

    1. I would like to see more posts on Sophie (or any other royal) as well. I know this is a Kate blog, but she does so darned little and then when she does it’s just more of the same. Sad really, rather than growing in her role she’s regressing.

    2. +1. The problem is Sophie doesn’t seem to be covered by the press in general, so maybe it’s harder to gather info about her.

      1. Well she’s not a major Royal is she? Married in to the Queen’s youngest child. I like her and really don’t have anything against her except I really resent my tax pounds funding her. Many wealthy ladies married to wealthy men do very good work for charity, I just don’t want to pay for Sophie. The BRF needs to slim down and deliver the goods from those who should be working ….ie W &K

        1. Thoughts on the Queen’s cousins like the Gloucesters and Princess Alexandra?

          1. I would kick Prince and Princess Michael of Kent out of KP before cutting the Gloucesters and Princess Alexandra. Although, I do wonder why the Queen has continued to support them. Is she too nice to say no? They don’t seem to do very much work anymore. Did they used to be much more active?

          2. I thought Prince and Princess Michael of Kent didn’t get anything from the Civil List. They do live at KP but pay rent. I think they live off income from speaking engagements and her books.

          3. From what I understand, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent pay rent for their KP apartment. It’s a discounted rent, but they still pay over 100,00 per month or something like that.

            And yes, Cathy, they don’t get any money from the Civil List. They make money from other avenues.

          4. I think this is another tricky issue which the Queen has failed to deal with appropriately. When it comes to family she does seem to lack the ability or desire to make difficult decisions.
            Personally I feel it is too late to change things for the elderly cousins now. They have devoted their life to their roles and they deserve essentially their well earned pension. However, to have credibility, Charles will have to deal with these issues regarding later generations.
            I can see that non UK taxpayers love the extended family, but that is actually irrelevant. We’ve had discussions before about tourism and frankly we would make more money if all the palaces were open to the public. I think Charles needs to work very closely with a cross party government team to determine what the future role is for the BRF and therefore how it should be funded, and who should be funded. There could be a stepping stone time as the changes are brought in where minor royals get a per diem as also suggested by previous posters on here. But change and cutbacks and furthermore real accountability will have to be introduced. The W& K fiasco gravy train needs to be stopped.
            Well that’s what I would do if I were Queen for a day.

          5. I didn’t realize the Kents were paying a real rent now, I guess I was going from old articles where they were paying a nominal rent and had refused the Queen’s offer to buy them a home outside of Kensington Palace. I found this article that says they pay about 120,000 a year: It still seems nuts to me that they lived in the palace for so many years on a nominal rent while doing so little royal work.

            I agree with you Birdy, at this point, there’s not much to be changed for the elderly cousins. Perhaps a hard and fast rule from Parliament about who can be paid would be best for all. It would relieve the Monarch from making tough choices with their relatives. If their cousin asks to be paid they have an easy out because it’s not allowed. I think something like an “hours per month requirement” would be perfect. Then it would force Kate and William (and other future lazies) to work if they want their pay.

      2. Sophie isn’t covered in the press as much as William, Kate, and Harry — but there is a blogger out there who does follow her and ID most of her clothes!

        Sophie packs in as many public engagements per day / per week to the tune of over 200 engagements last year, I think.

        What is remarkable is that Sophie is going to try to cycle 445 miles! I admire her for this. She stepped up to the plate. She didn’t have to and could have done “something else”, but no, cycling 445 miles it is.

        More power to her! Go Sophie!

      3. It’s harder to get info and photos from her visits which is why I don’t cover her as much.

  14. Kmr,

    Lovely article! Just one question, Pippa is referred to at one point:

    “There are a number of people who have been incredibly supportive of me in putting this event together. I would like to thank the team who will be accompanying me on my ride, in particular Jamie from Boardman Bikes and Rachel from RMAS. David, Pippa and Martin, thank you all for your incredible support in sorting the logistics, route etc. and in ensuring that we don’t have to sleep under the stars!

    Do you think this is Kate’s sister Pippa? Or someone else?

    Love your blog and read it every day. Thanks for giving us a much needed break from Kate ??

    1. He may be referring to Pippa Middleton, BUT Pippa or Pip short for Phillipa is a very common name for a certain section of English people. My last work place had 5 Pippas working there.

    2. No, the other names mentioned are the four service people riding with her (I *think* so anyway). It’s not that “other” Pippa.

    3. I paused at Sophie’s mention of that name as well, but I think it’s in reference to one of the people she’s doing the race with, not Pippa Middleton.

  15. Good for you, Sophie! I’ll be rooting for you. It probably won’t count as an engagement either [sorry, a bit of snark there].

    She is listed as “a long-term supporter” of the DofE Awards – no official function, so to speak. Edward is a Trustee and Philip is still Patron. For some reason, I thought he had passed the patronage to Edward, but I was mistaken.

    I really enjoy cycling – I sold my car, so I bike everywhere. Not so much fun in the winter, but you just have to plan ahead so you don’t have to go out in a blizzard. I had to do that once. Never, never ever again… 🙂

    1. Sophie does have a specific function for the DofE International Award and the DofE Women in Business thing, I just didn’t write it down when I was looking it up for a post earlier this year and the new website won’t tell me what it is.

  16. I’m pretty sure the Queen’s grandchildren all get trust funds at 25 – and that’s why Beatrice has been on 18 vacations the last two years. So I’m not quite clutching my pearls that Edwards kids will have to fend for themselves on the mean streets of London. Honestly, with an uncle as King how hard is it going to be to get a job?

    1. I doubt that their trust fund is enough to support them (at the lifestyle they are used to) for their whole lives. I agree they should have plenty of connections to get a job. I have wondered why Beatrice can’t seem to keep a decent job.

      1. Because Beatrice doesn’t need a job. They are all given “jobs” where they have “flexible hours” like Kate had. I think it’s funny that they act like they aren’t independently wealthy and the head of the family (the queen) has unparalleled access to government information in order to inform the family investment strategy. Elizabeth has a personal net worth of about 500 million dollars – whereas the Crown has 10 billion net worth. You think Charles is kicking everyone out of Bagshot Park when the Queen dies? Edward’s got a lease until 2048. He pays for it buy sub-leasing property on it. Meaning, whoever rents actually pays for Edwards family to live there. Sweet set-up.

      1. I would consider a long weekend away from home a vacation. It’s a short vacation, but it’s still a vacation.

        1. Thanks KMR for responding to my question so quickly. Generally, here, we think of a vacation as being a week or more. I do have to admit that when I lived in London I would take a long weekend when I could, i worked plenty of overtime so I had time off in lieu. I’m hoping my workmates didn’t think I was a slacker! I’m hoping they remembered that when I came home to NZ that Europe is a long way away and I was taking the chance to see as much as I could.
          Is it better for papers like DM to say Beatrice went on 18 vacations than to say she goes away in the weekend alot, it makes her look worse? Mind you, that’s still a lot of traveling in one year!

          1. I think it depends on the person and what you’re doing whether you consider it a vacation or not. I think the DM says 18 vacations for two reason: 1) ease, because saying 18 vacations is easier than saying X vacations and X weekends away plus X weddings, etc; 2) to make her look worse, because people assume things when they read the word “vacation”.

      2. I think the holiday thing plays out differently in North America because as I understand it most people have far fewer days. I get 25 days plus the 8 bank holidays . So many people have a two week holiday, a one week holiday and then use all the other days to add on to long weekends etc. If worked carefully using bank holiday weekends you can get plenty of time to pop onto an Easyjet flight to Europe for a few days.

      1. I’m not sure but I know all her grandchildren inherited from the Queen Mum. However the concept of private money interests me….surely they don’t have private money? They’ve never worked to earn it. The various Duchy funds which they like to claim as private are really state money too. Bea has a hugely wealthy boyfriend who I imagine supports her financially too.

        1. I’ve also wondered about their private money situation. I’m not saying the Queen’s personal estimated wealth of 500,000 isn’t a lot (it’s more than I could ever dream of!), but when you’re splitting it between four children, eight grandchildren, and then the great-grandkids, and all of those people are used to a very fabulous lifestyle, I can see how the money could dry up rather quickly if it’s not managed properly. I guess I’m not familiar with how the Duchy’s work and if that income is for the personal use of the Duke

  17. Shouldn’t Kate be doing this, since we’re always hearing about how “keen” she is for sports?

    By the way, I’m a longtime lurker, first time poster. Kudos to all of you for the insightful analysis of the trainwreck known as Will and Kate, and thank you for making me simultaneously laugh and shake my head on a daily basis. And a special thank you to Katemiddletonreview for all of her work to make this such an awesome site! If only Kate and Will expended such effort…

    1. Welcome!! I’m thinking Sophie might be doing this because the Queen intends from Edward to inherit the DoE title when Prince Philip passes. I could see S+E carrying on the DoE award and therefore Sophie is getting involved now.

      As a disclaimer, I don’t in anyway mean this an excuse for Kate not doing more. She certainly should be. Just saying this might be why Sophie is doing this particular event.

    2. Welcome! This type of thing would be good for Kate. Maybe not cycling, but something to do with tennis since she loves tennis.

      Lol, sometimes I think I put in more work covering Kate’s engagements than she does actually doing them.

      1. Kate should run the London marathon. Tennis would be in her comfort zone, and as Sophie says, a challenge should be outside your comfort zone. Security is too easy to site as an excuse.

        1. There could be several reasons Kate doesn’t do anything like this:

          1. William says no. Because it will overshadow him.

          2. She’s in good shape, but is she in shape to take on something like this and look as good as she wants to in the end. In other words, having a good time in a marathon type event, actually finishing the event, etc.

          3. She can’t sweat or have droopy hair. She would have to put it in a ponytail and that doesn’t go along with the Duchess look she’s working.

          4. She just doesn’t seem to have a lot of follow through. When she signed up for the rowing when William dumped her, she dropped it like a hot potato when he took her back. We don’t know how well she would have done at that.

          All of these stories we have about her being sporty are from her early school days. You see very little about her being sporty in university or afterwards unless it’s a comment about her playing tennis with Pippa or William or whatever other family member. Maybe she’s just not that good. Pippa is excelling in her sporting events, Kate couldn’t possibly be seen as being worse than her sister.

          And yes, she has a trainer, but training to stay bone thin and toned is entirely different from training for a fairly heavy duty marathon type event. For someone who works out the way she does she does not have that healthy glow you get from being active.

          Just my 2 cents worth.

  18. Not thread jacking, but just saw that Kate is visiting 1851 Trust later this month and looking forward to dishy pictures of Sir Ben. My birthday is in a few weeks–what a present!

  19. This is the video that impressed me the most with Sophie, giving a 4 – 5 minute speech (without notes) to the Gold Winners of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in West Kelowna, BC.

    And she did it again (without notes) at the Award Ceremony in the Czech Republic last year. She is very skilled in public speaking.

  20. “It had to be something outside my comfort zone that was challenging enough to require a high level of personal commitment.”

    Thanks to that comment by Sophie I’m going to challenge myself to do something which requires me to move out of my comfort zone.

    Good for Sophie for doing this and making the commitment – it will be a long 7 days, I hope the weather will be good for her.

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