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The Countess of Wessex unveils her incredible sculpture that made royal history

Sophie has been patron of The Vision Foundation since 2003

Danielle Stacey

The Countess of Wessex championed sight loss inclusion at the unveiling of her new sculpture on Thursday.

Sophie, 56, joined her patronage The Vision Foundation for the special event at her Surrey home, Bagshot Park.

The royal mum-of-two made history last year when she became the first member of the royal family to sit for a live sculpting session with renowned sculptor, Frances Segelman. In September 2020, the Countess sat for the sculptor in front of a live virtual audience to promote the work of the charity.

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At the event, Sophie supported Vision Foundation Appeal Manager, Monica Smith, to explore the sculpture with her hands, enabling her to experience the Countess' features for the first time.

Sophie previously met Monica in July as she joined a group of visually impaired cyclists for a tandem cycle ride in Bushy Park, West London.

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The Vision Foundation's Monica Smith explores the new sculpture of the Countess

The Countess was pilot for the lead tandem, while Monica, who has been blind all her life, was her stoker.

Sophie, wearing a green polka dot dress from Alice Early, spoke of their last meeting at Thursday's event, saying: "It was an exchange of trust and mutual capabilities, which is what we need more in an employment context. It's people like Monica who will help us face our fears."

MORE: Why the Countess of Wessex was startled during recent royal outing

MORE: Sophie Wessex pays royal visit to blindness charity for special reason

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The Countess speaks with attendees at Bagshot Park

The unveiling at Bagshot Park also celebrated sculptor Frances Segelman becoming the charity's latest Vice-President.

Olivia Curno, Chief Executive of the Vision Foundation said: "We look forward to working with Frances in the years to come, not only to bring more tactile and accessible art to the forefront, but also raising the awareness of the need for equality for blind and partially sighted people, which is at the heart of the Vision Foundation's work.

"We also remain so grateful to HRH The Countess of Wessex for shining her spotlight on the desperate need for sight loss equality in employment. Her warmth, kindness and passion bring our vital work to life."

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There are future plans for the sculpture of the Countess to be displayed in the Vision Foundation's partner organisations, in due course.

Buckingham Palace also shared new photos of Sophie this week as she was honoured for her service to St John Ambulance in a special ceremony on Thursday. The royal was presented with a Bar to the Service Medal to celebrate 15 years working with the organisation.

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