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Sophie Countess of Wessex has taken on more responsibility within the Royal Family in recent months especially since the royal exit of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. She joined the Royal Family in 1999 when she married Prince Edward and is the mother of the Queen and Prince Philip’s youngest two grandchildren. But in what way has the Countess of Wessex broke history this week?
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, became the first member of the Royal Family to sit for a sculptor this week.
She sat for the sculpting season on Wednesday and during a two-hour live streaming session, a bust of her head was created.
The bust of Sophie’s head was made to support the Vision Foundation which helps blind and visually impaired people gain access to art.
The session was streamed online from Segelman’s London studio.
The event was broadcast by the Vision Foundation, of which Sophie is patron, and was available for its supporters to watch.
During the session, Sophie said: “For the blind and partially sighted amongst us, these past months have been especially challenging.
“However, through the care that the Vision Foundation has extended to those in difficulty, I am hopeful that the people we care for will feel empowered within their communities.”
In the past, the Countess of Wessex has advocated for the visually impaired and worked to curb avoidable blindness around the world.
The Countess of Wessex added the sculpture allows for people to see through touch.
Sophie said: “This sculpture, and the faces of many others, will allow the blind and partially sighted to see through touch and so to more vividly imagine their world.
“Whether you are a long-time supporter or friend of the Vision Foundation, or you are new to us, thank you for your vital support, and I would encourage you all to speak to the Foundation team to find out more about our work and explore how you can play a part in bringing the world to within closer reach for those who struggle to see it.”
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In a statement, the Vision Foundation’s chief executive Olivia Curno praised Sophie’s work on behalf of the organisation.
Ms Curno said: “The Countess of Wessex has been the Vision Foundation’s patron for more than 17 years and we’ve been overwhelmed by her dedication to ensuring blind and partially sighted people have the same opportunities as anyone else in our capital.
“The coronavirus crisis has set back the independence of blind and partially sighted people by decades – it’s hard to social distance when you can’t see; hard to be guided across roads and through stations when people are nervous to touch you; employment prospects are even more bleak.
“Being able to share the experiences of visually impaired people helps to increase public understanding and ensure London becomes open for all.”
Sophie’s bust will be cast in bronze and formally unveiled in 2021 when Vision Foundation marks its centenary year.
Several members of the Royal Family have had busts made, but the Countess of Wessex is the first royal to sit for a sculptor while the process has been streamed live.
The sculptor who created the bust is Lady Petchy, known for her busts of royalty and celebrities.
She completed a bronze bust of the Queen in 2008.
When sculpting the Queen, Lady Petchy said: “She’s a very special person.
“She came into the room and she was so calm and so poised and so willing to change her tiara, to change the jewellery, to try different things on and she seems so ordinary.
“She was sitting on a slightly higher area than I was sculpting so I had to measure her with callipers so I was going backwards and forwards from her hair.
“I was so nervous, you know, I was touching the Queen!”
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