Sophie, Countess of Wessex body language: Royal has ‘natural’ and ‘unforced’ signals

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 56, joined one of the organisations Shape and Share Craft Sessions which aims to support children with visual impairment during the pandemic, encouraging them to try out new things and make friends. During the virtual appearance, the royal decorated a wooden bird box alongside the other members of the group.

The royal has interest in many organisations and is patron to more than 70 charities.

While Sophie is not patron to the RNIB, it is a charity close to her heart as her daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, 17, was born with an eye condition called esotropia.

Esotropia is a condition that turns the eyes outwards and Lady Louise had difficulties with her vision growing up before undergoing multiple treatments to correct her vision.

In the virtual appearance, the royal showed off her creative side, painting a birdhouse which she was later pictured putting up.

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Judi told the “Sophie seems to have a natural ability to tune in to her audiences, more so on video links like this than the more formal royal speech-making or appearances. 

“Her body language looks natural and unforced. 

“There are no signs of camera-nerves or any self-conscious signals of vanity, just a down-to-earth-looking desire to get stuck into whatever job she has agreed to join in doing, whether it is helping out in a charity shop, picking up litter on beaches, cooking scones or, building a bird box, as she is here. 

“We can see Sophie’s eyes scanning the screen to identify each of the faces on it and to pick up on details like the little girl’s tiara that she can use to create bonds without the need for stilted small-talk.”

When the royal first appeared on the screen, she gave a big smile to the others on the call as well as waving both of her hands.

Judi added: “Her greeting ritual is low-status and fun, keeping her elbows on the table as she shakes both hands, palm-out at the screen. 

“Sophie is obviously an impressive guest but she doesn’t attempt to steal the show from the children, letting them be the stars of the ‘Shape and Share Craft Session’.”

Throughout the call, Sophie smiles on several occasions.

Judi said: “Her smile is one of collaborative pleasure, rather than the smile of a visitor attending the session and it is this ability to stretch out from the camera to join in these lock-down sessions that is clearly making her popular now that her profile has risen again during the pandemic.”

However, the expert explained that not all royals have the same skills as Sophie.

“Not all the top-tier royals have this same ability to break through the lens and create the feel of more intimate, personal communication but Sophie excels at it.”

Sophie has been in the Royal Family since 1999 after marrying Prince Edward.

With more than 20 years experience in the firm, the royal is well used to making appearances on her own as well as with Edward.

Judi finished: “She comes across as the eternal Girl Guide, a stoic personality that is keen to join in groups or teams and get tasks done in a practical, non-dramatic, fun way.

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