The Countess of Wessex was out and about yesterday (March 11), visiting the England hockey team at Bisham Abbey National Sports Center in her role as Patron of England Hockey—she’s been patron since January 2007. Sophie talked to the staff and players and got in on the action by playing a bit with player Shona McCallin. From the pictures, Sophie seemed to really be enjoying herself, which is great to see. She was presented with an England Hockey jersey.
The men and women’s England hockey teams will compete in the Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands in June and in the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in August.
After her time on the pitch, Sophie said: “I always really enjoyed playing hockey, it’s so much more than just a team sport. Hockey has a great social side and is a thoroughly enjoyable game to both play and watch.”
Sally Munday, England Hockey’s Chief Executive, said: “It was brilliant for both staff and players to enjoy a Royal visit, and The Countess of Wessex is clearly very enthusiastic in her support of hockey. Having HRH as our Royal Patron is hugely valuable to our sport. Hockey can be a real inspiration to children across the country, particularly given the recent successes of our National teams, and support from the Royal Family helps us to push that message out.”
Before I get to Sophie’s fashion, I want to bring up something interesting that bugged me when I read the Daily Mail’s article about Sophie’s visit. If you recall, Kate Middleton made a visit to the Olympic Park in 2012 and met Team GB’s women’s hockey team, and played around on the pitch (in bright pink skinny jeans no less). She was given a team shirt as well. This history lesson is important, because the Daily Mail pitted Sophie against Kate in their article about their respective hockey visits, they even led with Kate… in an article about Sophie.
When I first read this I was super annoyed. It annoyed me that the press felt the need to pit Sophie and Kate against each other and compare them simply because they both did a hockey visit. The press always does this, they pit women against each other and compare them, because it’s not enough that two women are individuals taken at their own merit independently, they must be compared.
It bugged me on a whole other level that they were comparing them by saying Sophie was good for her age, or for not having ever been the captain of whatever team Kate was captain of. They made it into a rivalry to make Kate look better.
In this article, it wasn’t enough that Sophie made a visit in her role as Patron of England Hockey. It wasn’t enough that she loves hockey and had a good time while bringing awareness. It wasn’t enough that Sophie looked lovely and professional yet still appropriate for a sports visit, they must pit her against Kate and criticize by referring to Sophie’s outfit as “the lack of sporty attire” (because she wore trousers and a blazer instead of the afore mentioned skinny jeans).
This type of crap happens all the time in the press. It’s not enough that Person A is an up-and-coming actress, she must be labeled the “next [insert famous actress here (it’s usually Angelina Jolie)]”. It’s not enough that Chelsy Davy is a person with a personality, it’s not enough that Cressida Bonas is a person with a personality, they must be compared to Kate Middleton. Hell, it’s not enough that Kate Middleton is a person with a personality, she must be compared to Diana (granted Kate has purposefully purported that comparison but still). Now I’m ranting, but this type of unnecessary comparison is annoying, and, in my opinion, sexist. This type of comparison doesn’t usually happen as much with men.
Having said all that, there may be another reason to include Kate Middleton in an article about Sophie Wessex: it gets more hits. Sophie (and the other hard working royals) doesn’t get reported on as much as Kate, Will, and Harry (whom I am dubbing the “royal holy trinity” from here on out), and it is mostly because the public isn’t as interested. If the other royals got as many article hits and sold as many papers, you could bet the reporters would write stories about them, but as of right now the royal holy trinity gets the most traffic, so they get reported on more. Because of this, the DM reporter found a way to work Kate’s name into the article to generate more hits (in a big way, seriously the article is like a 1/3 about Kate). I would bet that this article about Sophie with Kate’s name attached got more hits than an article about Sophie without Kate’s name attached.
So I guess my only comfort in having this DM article about Sophie turn into a comparison with Kate is the hope that more people read an article about Sophie—working no less—and saw how great and underrated she is. That’s the silver lining, but it doesn’t negate the annoying sexism (and favoritism of Kate) in the DM’s comparison of the two royal women.
I’ll end my post (that got long real fast, sorry) with Sophie’s fashion from her hockey visit. I said in my last Sophie post that I wished for a What Sophie Wore type of blog… and my wish has been granted. I was contacted on Twitter by Anna and shown to her blog dedicated to the Countess of Wessex. It covers her work and events and provides IDs for fashion.
Sophie wore a blue, double face cashmere coat by Joseph, costing £545 (~$905); black Bruce Oldfield pumps (this close-up pic is awesome); she wore black trousers and a black blazer; and sneakers by Asics while playing hockey. She accessorized with white and black pearl earrings and a clutch by Sophie Habsburg Design.
I thought Sophie looked lovely. I love the color of the coat on her. She was appropriate in trousers for a sports visit while remaining professional. I love her black pumps. They’re black and look professional, but up close they have a detailing that makes them fun and a bit more edgy than normal black pumps. Also, her hair was pulled back so it didn’t get in her face while she was playing hockey. She used what looks like a brown scrunchie. What do we think of this? It doesn’t look terrible (I’ve seen much worse in terms of schunchies), but I would have gone for a normal hair tie. The fuzzy scrunchie is a bit 90s to me.
More links: Hello article. England Hockey article. Getty Images photos from event.