Published On: Thu, Jan 21st, 2021

Sophie Wessex ‘moves Royal Family into 21st century’ and displays ‘unfiltered emotions’

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 56, is a much-valued member of Firm and has been dubbed the Royal Family’s secret weapon for the low-key but effective manner with which she conducts royal duties. Much of the Countess’s work focuses on tackling sexual violence against women and on Wednesday Sophie addressed the heartbreaking issue in a moving video engagement.

The Countess spoke to members of the London School of Economics (LSE) Centre for Women, Peace and Security staff during an online webinar.

During the emotional engagement, Sophie said: “To hear their stories, you know when you’ve got tears dripping off your chin, I mean you just, you can’t help but weep with them because they are so terrible these stories.”

She added: “It really is heartbreaking and I’ve gone to some very dark places, you know, internally.

“But I’m not living it and therefore if they can survive, if they can put one foot in front of the other, then for goodness’ sake, of course, I can.”

READ MORE: Sophie, Countess of Wessex, burst into tears during engagement

Language expert and author Judi James analysed Sophie’s moving words and body language for Express.co.uk and shared her findings.

According to the expert, Sophie has helped to modernise the Royal Family by openly speaking about her emotions.

Judi said: “In a low-key, gentle way, the royal’s ‘safe pair of hands’ Sophie might just have moved the Firm into the twenty-first century here, revealing unfiltered emotions and an insight into her own thoughts in a way that the Queen’s generation has never done, but without turning it into a celebrity-style headline about herself.”

According to Judi, Sophie answered difficult questions with tact and skill.

The analyst said: “The question Sophie was asked was a tricky one, refereeing to how she goes from hearing about the suffering of survivors of sexual violence back to her ‘dinner parties’ in the evening.

“The contrast between a charmed, opulent lifestyle and the charities the royals support is always the elephant in the room but rather than ducking it, Sophie answers at length and with body language that suggests off-script honesty and a determination to avoid hints of self-pity.”

Judi claimed the Countess’s facial expressions indicated she was struggling with “deep emotions.”

The expert said: “Her accelerated blink rate as she is asked the question shows she is keen to answer it but she performs a mouth wince and eye-roll to hint how tricky it is.”

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Judi added: “Her eyes go up and to the left to suggest she is putting thoughts and deep emotions into words and her increase of verbal fillers like ‘um’, ‘err’ and ‘you know’ hint she is struggling a bit.”

According to Judi, the Countess’s careful use of language allows the women she is speaking to feel included in what she is saying.

Judi said: “Sophie de-personalises her most emotive words to share them rather than make it all about her, telling the woman ‘You can’t help but weep for them’ rather than ‘I’.

“She modestly refers to ‘The four of us here’ when she speaks about her family although later she does become totally personal when she says ‘I’ve gone to some very dark places internally’.”

The analyst added: “She picks this up quickly though, throwing her hands out to illustrate her surroundings and saying ‘If they can survive of course I can’.”

While the Countess showed she is not afraid to address difficult topics, she ended the engagement on a hopeful note.

Judi said: “Sophie then moves the tone on to something more uplifting about the ‘Pure joy’ of working with the survivors.

“‘I miss the hugs’ us her last phrase as she signals more positive emotions and memories by throwing her head back and raising her vocal tone.”



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