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Lady Frederick Windsor joins Big Issue vendors as she speaks out for cause close to her heart

Sophie Windsor
Rosalind Powell
Contributing Editor
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We're used to seeing her at royal events or on TV, but commuters were surprised to spot Lady Frederick Windsor selling copies of Big Issue outside London's Somerset House. 

Known professionally as Sophie Winkleman and recognised for her roles as society beauty Lady Susan in Sanditon and Big Suze in the comedy Peep Show, the actress joined vendor Kelvin Gregory on his pitch to experience what it was like to sell the magazine as temperatures plummeted to 3°C. 

Lady Frederick Windsor has been selling copies of Big Issue outside London's Somerset House© The Big Issue
Lady Frederick Windsor has been selling copies of Big Issue outside London's Somerset House

"I can't imagine standing out here all day – freezing and having people not even talking to me," said Sophie, who is starring in Julian Fellowes's second series of Belgravia: The Next Chapter. "I've realised in a very short space of time that communication is very important and just being rejected and having people walk by you all day – that's not okay. I want people to have humanity and make eye contact and talk to vendors. 

"It's fine if you can't buy a magazine, but just say: 'Happy New Year. Sorry, I can't get one today.' That's very, very important. Every single Big Issue vendor deserves admiration and kindness." 

Sophie, 43, who has daughters Maud, ten, and Isabella, eight this week, with her husband Lord Frederick, the son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, has been a fan of the social enterprise magazine for many years. Calling it her "favourite weekly by far", she became one of its ambassadors in 2020.

William with Big Issue seller Dave Martin© Instagram / @princeandprincessofwales
Prince William previously joined Big Issue seller Dave Martin on his pitch

"I think I was 15 when I first started spending my money on it. I read about it and did a project on it for school," she said at the time. "I was very honoured [to become an ambassador] because I've been a real fan of the Big Issue ever since it started. Apart from the fact that it's a fantastic cause, it's a brilliant publication. It's informative, witty, always interesting, well-written and thought provoking.

"When Freddie and I lived in America for six years, my parents would send it to me every week because I missed it." 

This was not Kelvin's first time with a member of the royal family. Last November, he made international news when he was pictured selling a copy of Big Issue to the King, who was appearing on the front cover to mark his 75th birthday. 

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The Prince of Wales also has a history with the publication, which supports people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. He teamed up with vendor Dave Martin in both 2022 and 2023 to help sell issues of the magazine outside a branch of Tesco in Hammersmith. And Prince William launched his Homewards initiative, which aims to eradicate homelessness, last June. 

After spending time with Kelvin, Sophie made a stop at the magazine's Covent Garden distribution point, where she spoke about how it ensures vendors make an income. "Big Issue is one of the things I'm most proud of about our whole country," she said. "It's spectacular and I'm thrilled to be a very tiny part of it."