Posts Tagged ‘Countess of Wessex’
The Countess of Wessex has been getting a lot of coverage lately—which is awesome. Yesterday, Sophie visited Frimley Park Hospital where she nearly died giving birth to Lady Louise in 2003. Sophie suffered a placental abruption at 36 weeks which caused her to lose a lot of blood. Marcus Setchell delivered her via an emergency cesarean one month early. Lady Louise was taken to St George’s Hospital’s neonatal unit in London for two weeks.
Sophie was at the hospital to open the new neonatal unit. It was the first time she had been back since she gave birth to her son, James, Viscount Severn, in 2007. The unit was funded by the Frimley Park Hospital Charity’s Saving Tiny Lives Appeal.
Sophie hugged the head of midwifery who helped deliver her children. She also met parents and babies in the unit, and gave a speech at a reception attended by hospital staff.
In her speech, Sophie said: “Thank you for inviting me here, it is good to be back in happier circumstances. On behalf of the thousands of families you have helped I would like to say thank you and congratulations on raising the money for this fantastic facility. The service you provide is paramount and can literally make the difference between life and death, I can attest to that. It is rare to have the opportunity to thank people for the huge difference they have made at an important time in your life so I am so pleased to be here and to be able to say thank you in person.”
Sophie broke down in tears during her speech. At which point all the photographers put down their cameras out of respect, only raising them once she had gained her composure. What a lovely thing for them to do. I can’t even imagine how much emotion Sophie would have been feeling being back there. I get teary thinking about Sophie’s tears.
I think it’s wonderful that Sophie opened the new neonatal unit at the hospital where her children were born and that saved her life. It’s so much more meaningful.
As for fashion, Sophie wore a Valentino Pink Wool Drill Cocoon jacket ($2450), a Roland Mouret Benwell dress ($2369), and Jimmy Choo pumps (~$500). She also wore citrine earrings which I love (yellow is my favorite color).
Links: FP Hospital’s article. Express article. Telegraph article. Daily Mail article. Frimley Park Twitter and Facebook for some cool photos. HRH Countess of Wessex Blog.
The Countess of Wessex was out and about yesterday (March 11), visiting the England hockey team at Bisham Abbey National Sports Center in her role as Patron of England Hockey—she’s been patron since January 2007. Sophie talked to the staff and players and got in on the action by playing a bit with player Shona McCallin. From the pictures, Sophie seemed to really be enjoying herself, which is great to see. She was presented with an England Hockey jersey.
The men and women’s England hockey teams will compete in the Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands in June and in the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in August.
After her time on the pitch, Sophie said: “I always really enjoyed playing hockey, it’s so much more than just a team sport. Hockey has a great social side and is a thoroughly enjoyable game to both play and watch.”
Sally Munday, England Hockey’s Chief Executive, said: “It was brilliant for both staff and players to enjoy a Royal visit, and The Countess of Wessex is clearly very enthusiastic in her support of hockey. Having HRH as our Royal Patron is hugely valuable to our sport. Hockey can be a real inspiration to children across the country, particularly given the recent successes of our National teams, and support from the Royal Family helps us to push that message out.”
Before I get to Sophie’s fashion, I want to bring up something interesting that bugged me when I read the Daily Mail’s article about Sophie’s visit. If you recall, Kate Middleton made a visit to the Olympic Park in 2012 and met Team GB’s women’s hockey team, and played around on the pitch (in bright pink skinny jeans no less). She was given a team shirt as well. This history lesson is important, because the Daily Mail pitted Sophie against Kate in their article about their respective hockey visits, they even led with Kate… in an article about Sophie.
When I first read this I was super annoyed. It annoyed me that the press felt the need to pit Sophie and Kate against each other and compare them simply because they both did a hockey visit. The press always does this, they pit women against each other and compare them, because it’s not enough that two women are individuals taken at their own merit independently, they must be compared.
It bugged me on a whole other level that they were comparing them by saying Sophie was good for her age, or for not having ever been the captain of whatever team Kate was captain of. They made it into a rivalry to make Kate look better.
In this article, it wasn’t enough that Sophie made a visit in her role as Patron of England Hockey. It wasn’t enough that she loves hockey and had a good time while bringing awareness. It wasn’t enough that Sophie looked lovely and professional yet still appropriate for a sports visit, they must pit her against Kate and criticize by referring to Sophie’s outfit as “the lack of sporty attire” (because she wore trousers and a blazer instead of the afore mentioned skinny jeans).
This type of crap happens all the time in the press. It’s not enough that Person A is an up-and-coming actress, she must be labeled the “next [insert famous actress here (it’s usually Angelina Jolie)]”. It’s not enough that Chelsy Davy is a person with a personality, it’s not enough that Cressida Bonas is a person with a personality, they must be compared to Kate Middleton. Hell, it’s not enough that Kate Middleton is a person with a personality, she must be compared to Diana (granted Kate has purposefully purported that comparison but still). Now I’m ranting, but this type of unnecessary comparison is annoying, and, in my opinion, sexist. This type of comparison doesn’t usually happen as much with men.
Having said all that, there may be another reason to include Kate Middleton in an article about Sophie Wessex: it gets more hits. Sophie (and the other hard working royals) doesn’t get reported on as much as Kate, Will, and Harry (whom I am dubbing the “royal holy trinity” from here on out), and it is mostly because the public isn’t as interested. If the other royals got as many article hits and sold as many papers, you could bet the reporters would write stories about them, but as of right now the royal holy trinity gets the most traffic, so they get reported on more. Because of this, the DM reporter found a way to work Kate’s name into the article to generate more hits (in a big way, seriously the article is like a 1/3 about Kate). I would bet that this article about Sophie with Kate’s name attached got more hits than an article about Sophie without Kate’s name attached.
So I guess my only comfort in having this DM article about Sophie turn into a comparison with Kate is the hope that more people read an article about Sophie—working no less—and saw how great and underrated she is. That’s the silver lining, but it doesn’t negate the annoying sexism (and favoritism of Kate) in the DM’s comparison of the two royal women.
I’ll end my post (that got long real fast, sorry) with Sophie’s fashion from her hockey visit. I said in my last Sophie post that I wished for a What Sophie Wore type of blog… and my wish has been granted. I was contacted on Twitter by Anna and shown to her blog dedicated to the Countess of Wessex. It covers her work and events and provides IDs for fashion.
Sophie wore a blue, double face cashmere coat by Joseph, costing £545 (~$905); black Bruce Oldfield pumps (this close-up pic is awesome); she wore black trousers and a black blazer; and sneakers by Asics while playing hockey. She accessorized with white and black pearl earrings and a clutch by Sophie Habsburg Design.
I thought Sophie looked lovely. I love the color of the coat on her. She was appropriate in trousers for a sports visit while remaining professional. I love her black pumps. They’re black and look professional, but up close they have a detailing that makes them fun and a bit more edgy than normal black pumps. Also, her hair was pulled back so it didn’t get in her face while she was playing hockey. She used what looks like a brown scrunchie. What do we think of this? It doesn’t look terrible (I’ve seen much worse in terms of schunchies), but I would have gone for a normal hair tie. The fuzzy scrunchie is a bit 90s to me.
More links: Hello article. England Hockey article. Getty Images photos from event.
To celebrate his 50th birthday Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex visited Robert Browning primary school in Walworth, London to observe work being carried out by Kidspace, a charity preventing childhood bullying, who received money from the Wessex Youth Trust. The Wessex Youth Trust is a charity set up in 1999, after the Wessex wedding, that has granted £1.3 million to 154 charities since it’s inception.
There were two children at the school whose birthdays are also March 10, so they made Edward a birthday card and everyone signed it and the birthday boys got their picture taken with Edward and Sophie. They also had a cake there for Edward’s birthday. The choir also sang him “happy birthday”. Edward and Sophie met with the children and discussed being bullied and coping strategies, and sat in on classes. Visit the Express article for quotes from Edward, children, and other members of the charities. From the quotes, Edward seems quite nice and a bit self-deprecating.
Let’s talk fashion. Edward looks like an old school gangster in his pinstripes. I love it. Sophie looked good. I wish there was a What Sophie Wore floating around, I’d love to know everything she wears. Sophie wore a white jacket, black pencil skirt, and nude pumps. She carried a white purse and her hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. The pencil skirt is great, just what someone should wear when bending down to talk to children, no worry about showing anything. I love that even in her high heels and skirt, Sophie still manages to crouch all the way down to talk to the children. This is not my favorite outfit from Sophie, but it is appropriate for the event and she looks nice.
There were a number of people, and reporters, there for the visit (not including the schoolchildren). That’s nice to see. The Wessexes usually don’t get a ton of coverage, even though Edward did over 300 engagements last year, Sophie did over 200.
Edward also granted an interview to the BBC News School Report. I love that he says that his greatest memory from his 50 years is his wedding day.
[vimeo 88646528 w=500 h=281]
Not sure whether this is going to work, but here is a short clip of the Countess of Wessex today from Rebecca English on Vimeo.
[vimeo 88646632 w=500 h=281]
The Countess of Wessex today from Rebecca English on Vimeo.
Top photo credit. Second photo credit.
Happy 50th Birthday to Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex! The Prince was born on 10 March 1964. He is the fourth child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
This is a photo released by Buckingham Palace to mark Edward’s 50th birthday. It was taken at their home, Bagshot Park. Look at the size of their house. Wow.
They held a party Saturday night at their home to celebrate. The Queen and Philip attended. Edward will be celebrating today by performing three public engagements. He will conduct two engagements with Sophie in support of the Wessex Youth Trust, and will accompany the Queen and other royals to the Commonwealth Observance Service at Westminster Abbey. Then he will spend the evening quietly with his family. What a lovely way for a royal to spend their birthday.
Edward’s life has been up for discussion in numerous articles leading up to his 50th birthday. I’ve learned a lot about him. I hate to sound like a Wessex apologist, but Edward’s failings make me like him even more. I like that he tried to march to the beat of his own drum, and push against Philip’s demanding rules for the family.
There are some sketchy things I side-eye, though. Like getting into Cambridge even with his poor A-levels. I’m guessing Edward only got in because it would have been a PR nightmare if they refused him. Another thing I’m side-eying is the fact that he urged everyone to give blood, but doesn’t give blood himself, and refused to say why he doesn’t. My first thought when reading that bit was… not good, and that makes me sad.
Anyway, happy 50th birthday to the Earl of Wessex.
Call Olivia Pope, y’all, it’s the Edward and Sophie private plane SCANDAL! Lol, just kidding. But this article is trying to make it a big deal. It even compares Edward and Sophie to William and Kate and says how great Will and Kate are because they took a budget airline the last time they went skiing and Edward and Sophie hired a private jet to take their family on vacation to Switzerland.
I was thinking about this, and if it were Will and Kate, we’d all probably be pissed at them for wasting money and blah blah blah. Yet with Edward and Sophie, I’m kind of just meh about the situation. So either I should chill when it comes to the Cambridges or I need to be more upset when it comes to the Wessexes (grammatically, is that how I pluralize Wessex?). I don’t want to be a hypocrite like William. So here it goes… how dare you Wessexes for taking a private jet to fly your family on vacation! *Shakes fist in the air*
In all seriousness, I wonder who pays for their private jet and security. I don’t think the public pays for their security. Wasn’t it taken away from them and the Yorks and others a while back? I guess someone pays out of pocket for that. They get money from the Queen to fund their offices for their charity work and royal duties—the Queen’s money she pays them with comes from the Duchy of Lancaster, which technically is owned by the state and the Queen is paid from the revenue profits. I guess the Queen pays for them to live and work. It’s not like they have any other income.
You know, I know that Edward’s venture into TV production didn’t work out (and he apparently caused a scandal involving Will and Charles got mad) and Sophie had a scandal regarding her work in PR a number of years ago (before they both quit their jobs to focus on royal duties), but at least Sophie had a proper job before she married Edward and at least Edward tried to have a career apart from living off of his mother. Edward gets made fun of for failing in his career venture, but at least he tried. I respect that. Because you know what, yes the royals take on charity work, but the Queen’s children are basically 50+ years old and living off of their mother (except Charles because he has the income from the Duchy of Cornwall)—she pays for their offices, she gives them houses, she must pay for their staff and living expenses because they don’t have any other income (I guess Anne has her horses, but I’m not sure how much they make her versus how much she spends on them, and of course she must have been given the money to buy them in the first place). They may work hard for their charities, but they really have it pretty darn cushy. It’s not like they are even working the same amount that a normal person works—they aren’t putting in a full 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, with 2 weeks vacation, you know.
This may not be the popular opinion, but I respect Edward having a genuine interest in something and pursuing it and trying to make something of himself apart from his family. One could argue he used his royal connections to get ahead, and if it were the Middletons I’d be saying something nasty about it, but even with the Middleton’s grasping, famewhoring ways, everyone uses connections to get ahead in business; it’s not the worst crime in the world. And while the Middleton’s trading on their royal connection is seen as tacky, I bet almost everyone would have done the same thing. Hell, I said at the time (on a different blog) Pippa published her book that I would have taken the deal she did if it were handed to me—I would have written a much better book than her but that’s beside the point. I’m not excusing Edward’s current status of living off of his mother and not working half as hard as the average worker, but at least he tried, you know. Not everyone does. Even the average public doesn’t always go out on that limb and try something like that. Hell, Edward tried harder to make something of himself than Kate did. And Sophie had a good career going before she married Edward—and shiz hit the fan. Kate never had a career at all. Hell, Pippa tried harder to make a career for herself than Kate did, but that’s not the point here.
Sorry this post devolved into me ranting about… I don’t even know. I didn’t start out intending to go there. I guess I went on the Edward and Sophie’s careers rant because the Mail article was kind of making fun of them for trying to have careers outside of the Family—and many other articles and comments have made fun of them for it—and I think it’s stupid to make fun of them for trying and failing. It doesn’t matter that they failed, it matters that they tried. Not everyone is willing to try. Without meaning to get self-help-y: Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. I may sound like a Wessex apologist, and maybe I am, but I don’t see anything wrong with trying.
I’ll end my rant-filled post by saying it’s nice to see James out and about. We never get to see him. I guess the Queen doesn’t like children being around unless they can behave themselves properly, so James doesn’t go to church at Christmas or to the balcony for Trooping of the Color or anything like that.
Today is a heavy post day. Sorry to flood, but there are multiple things I would like to cover. Not all of them are super long, though. Some (most?) are quick check-ins.
I’m not expecting a ton of hits for this one, but I’m going to start with Sophie, because the Daily Mail bothered to cover her and therefore I must cover her, because she’s awesome and deserves the spotlight.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex visited the Livity School in Streatham yesterday where she met with pupils and staff and addressed officials, parents and guests. She opened the new building, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London. The Livity School is a primary school created in September 2001 for children with learning disabilities, physical impairments and mental conditions.
Let me not forget to mention the best part, Sophie drove herself! How awesome is that. Now that is down-to-earth.
Sophie wore a Proenza Schouler coat and a black dress underneath, with black pumps and a snakeskin clutch. She looks lovely; very professional, but with some flare. I like that.
The coat retails at £1,740. Yikes. Every time Kate wears a ridiculously expensive coat, I mention it, so I have to mention it with Sophie, to be fair. The cost of the coat is ridiculous, I have never bought a designer coat, so maybe that’s just how much they cost? I don’t know. I’m poor so I think you can have a nice coat and not spend a semester’s worth of tuition to get it.
I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan, and this story intertwines with royal fandom stuff, so here we go: Sophie, Countess of Wessex held a reception today at Buckingham Palace to honor the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.
Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction television show in the history of the world. Seriously, it holds the Guinness World Record and everything. It first aired in on 23 November 1963. The Classic series aired from then to December 1989. There was a television movie that aired in 1996. The series was revived in 2005 and has been on the air ever since. So this year is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. They are airing the special episode on November 23 in a global simulcast, and it is in theatres one-night-only on November 25 in 3D (I have my ticket and am totally going).
Now for the royal connection: There are at least two Doctor Who fans in the Royal Family, that we know of. Prince Charles is a huge Doctor Who fan, and has been since childhood. He and Camilla went and visited the Doctor Who set in Cardiff while they were touring there earlier this year. And Sophie Wessex is a huge Doctor Who fan as well, and has been since childhood. That is how long this show has been on, long enough for two people with a 17 year age gap to have both seen it as children. Granted Charles would have seen it when he was well into his teenage years (since he was born in 1948 and DW did not air until 1963). But if you assume that Sophie did not see it until she was at least 10, or older, that would mean the show had to have been on 12 years or more, since she was born two years after the show first aired. That is a ridiculous amount of time.
Anyway, back to today’s reception. Four (out of the 11, +1, Doctors that have existed on the show) Doctors were present: Matt Smith (the current, until Christmas, Doctor); Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor); Peter Davidson (the Fifth Doctor); and John Hurt (the War Doctor whom we have not seen yet but will see during the 50th special). There were also props from the set, including TARDISs, Daleks, and K-9 (the robot dog). Other people associated with the show who were there include Jenna-Louise Coleman (the current companion) and Catherine Tate (who was a companion to the Tenth Doctor during season four of the modern series). Steven Moffat (the current show runner) was also in attendance, the article does not mention him but he is in a picture with Sophie, so I know he was there.
Let’s talk about fashion. Sophie looked amazing. She wore a long sleeved, knee length, figure flattering, magenta dress with a scalloped neckline, and nude pumps. Her hair was pulled into a neat up-do so it did not get in her face, and her make-up was perfect for a daytime event. She really looked fabulous, the dress fit well and the color was great on her. Looking at the video, she seemed professional yet relaxed and looked like she really enjoyed herself. There aren’t any great full length shots of Sophie, this one is probably the best—also John Hurt is a badass, leaning against the Dalek while waiting to be greeted. Here is a fantastic close-up of Sophie.
Jenna-Louise Coleman wore a drop-waist pink dress with a black flower pattern, a plum coat, and black cut-out bootie shoes. It’s nothing special. I don’t like the shoes with the dress; they seem too heavy for that light of a color. Actually, they seem too heavy for a day event; they look more like something one would wear with a dark colored dress or gown for a night event. But that’s just my opinion. The coat is cute, though.
Catherine Tate wore a basic black dress with black tights, black pumps, and a black bag; she wore a brown coat. It’s pretty basic, not much to talk about; but she looks nice, appropriate.
Doctor Who is a British institution like the Queen, Shakespeare, and the Union Flag—things one thinks of immediately when one thinks of Britain (I would include Harry Potter on that list as well). I must say, I was shocked that Danny Boyle did not include an homage to Doctor Who during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. Anyway, it’s cool to know that Charles and Sophie are Doctor Who fans, and it’s great that DW is being celebrated, because its longevity is remarkable.
There has been some confusion/controversy over Kate Middleton’s official title in the last few days. It all started when Clarence House released an image of Prince George’s birth certificate and under “mother’s occupation” it said, “Princess of the United Kingdom”. After this was made public, the media pounced on the “princess” reference. They made a huge deal about Kate being called a princess, and a lot of reporters and fans were saying it is now okay to call Kate, Princess Kate. Of course the rational, non-sycophants were very unhappy with this and pushed against those saying Kate is a princess and that it’s okay to call her Princess Kate by saying that Kate is not a princess but rather a duchess, since she was bestowed the title Duchess of Cambridge upon her marriage. I would like to clarify things a bit:
When Kate married William she became, according to the palace, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus.
Now, when a woman marries a man of rank, she automatically takes the same rank as her husband; but that does not mean she acquires this rank in her own right, it is contingent solely on her husband. This is most evident with the wife of Prince Michael of Kent, because Prince Michael did not receive a peerage upon his marriage; his wife became Princess Michael of Kent and is known as such. She does not hold the title “princess” in her own right, but only because it is the feminine of her husband’s title. If Prince Michael had received a Dukedom then she would be titled “Duchess” since that would be the feminine of her husband’s title. Basically, the “princess” title (or duchess, countess, etc) is like the “Mrs.” title for non-titled folk. That is why she is not Princess Marie Christine, but Princess Michael.
Diana being called “Princess Diana” was actually started by the press—this was not her official title. Her official title during her marriage was Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay. She, like Princess Michael, was not a princess in her own right, but a princess by marriage. Had Charles not been the Prince of Wales at the time of his marriage, Diana would have been titled “Princess Charles”. Had Charles not been the heir and was given a dukedom at the time of his marriage, Diana’s title would have been “Duchess” since that would have been the feminine of Charles’ dukedom title. It was coincidence that Charles was Prince of Wales at the time of his marriage so Diana became Princess of Wales. But she was never Princess Diana, not officially. The press made that name up.
When Sophie married Prince Edward, she became Countess of Wessex, because Edward was given the earldom of Wessex and became the Earl of Wessex. Countess is the feminine counterpart to Earl. But she is also “Princess Edward”, because Edward is a prince of the blood. Since Edward’s highest appointed title is Earl, however, Sophie’s correct title is Countess. But Sophie is not, and will never be, Princess Sophie.
Upon his marriage, Prince Andrew was given the dukedom of York and became the Duke of York, so Sarah Ferguson became The Duchess of York. She also became “Princess Andrew”, because Andrew is a prince of the blood. But Andrew’s highest appointed title is Duke, so Sarah became a Duchess. However, after their divorce, Sarah retained her title of Duchess of York (just like a divorced woman retains her husband’s last name), but she did not retain the title of “Princess Andrew”, because she is no longer married to a prince.
When William married Kate, he was given a dukedom and became the Duke of Cambridge; therefore Kate took the feminine version and became the Duchess of Cambridge. She is also “Princess William” and would use that title had William not been given a dukedom. But because William’s dukedom takes precedence, Kate is titled Duchess. Kate is not a princess in her own right, just like none of the other married-in ladies are princesses in their own right, so it would never be correct to call her Princess Kate. It does not matter what her occupation is (nor what William calls her, or she calls herself, when alone), her title is Duchess of Cambridge. She should be referred to as the Duchess of Cambridge, or else it is incorrect*. Unfortunately—for people like me—the press wants so much to have Diana 2.0, to have someone they can call “Princess” and that will sell magazines that they take this occupation listing as a clearance to call her Princess Kate, no matter what the palace says. Of course, this will backfire since Kate will never sell well, no matter what they call her. She is just not interesting enough for people to care enough to buy magazines with her on the cover.
Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Princess Margaret are princesses of the blood, princesses in their own right and have the honor of being titled Princess [their first name]. Unless one is a daughter or granddaughter of the monarch (or, now that Liz changed it, a granddaughter of the Prince of Wales—of which there is not one since George is a boy) one is not a princess of the blood and does not have the honor of being titled Princess [first name].
Camilla’s title is a bit more complicated. When she married Charles, she was not accepted much by the public, and Diana was still in most people’s minds. Because the title “Princess of Wales” was so synonymous with Diana, Camilla chose not to use that title and instead took the feminine version of the highest of Charles’ subsidiary titles. Charles is also known as the Duke of Cornwall, so Camilla became Duchess of Cornwall. However, as much as Camilla detractors won’t like this, Camilla is also “Princess Charles”, just like all the other married-in ladies are “Princess [their husband’s name]”. She could have taken the title “Princess of Wales” since Charles is the Prince of Wales, but she (or the palace) chose not to.
This whole mess is all thanks to William, who himself put as an occupation “prince of the United Kingdom”. What William should have put as his occupation was “SAR helicopter pilot”, since that is his job; and for Kate’s occupation he should have put “unemployed”, since that’s what Kate is. But he had to put “princess of the United Kingdom” and cause a huge mess with the press and sycophants and critics. Thanks Will, I appreciate it.
*I and everyone else continuing to call her Kate Middleton are actually being very rude, since she did take her husband’s title when she married. But the press continues to call her by her maiden name because she was an established brand for ten years before marriage and referring to her as anything else would throw off their archive system and everything else. It has nothing to do with anything other than name continuity and recognition. Of course, for me, she does not act like a duchess so I refuse to call her one.