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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, is often praised for her low-key approach to royal duty. The Countess is married to the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward and is a huge asset to the crown. On Tuesday she visited a school in Surrey to mark World Teacher’s Day 2020.
According to a body language expert, ‘rule-keeper’ Sophie seemed determined to stick to social-distancing rules during her latest engagement.
In a post-pandemic world, the Countess seems more conscious of the rules than her royal counterpart Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, the expert claimed.
Analysing photos of Sophie’s royal visit, body language expert and author Judi James told Express.co.uk: “The pandemic has made some profound changes in our body language signals, making the intentional gestures of a royal visitor like Sophie hugely important in terms of defining how carefully she intends to enforce and stick to social distancing rules.”
Judi claimed that while Kate, Duchess of Cambridge has tended to “lean forward” during recent royal engagements, Sophie remains firmly back.
The expert said: “While Kate will often use the forward lean as well as some ‘reaching’ hand gestures to signal a secret desire to breach the gap between herself and her hosts, Sophie’s poses here suggest she is more of a rule-keeper, with a much more rule-compliant look to her body language and no gestural hints that she might be tempted to break through the spatial barriers.”
According to Judi, Sophie’s gestures indicate her wish to put ’emphasise distance’ and put a “barrier” between herself and those she meets.
Judi added: “Sophie is emphasising the distances here by using her hands as a barrier, clasping both her bag and her mask in front of her torso.”
The expert claimed that the Countess’s cautious body language sees her set the tone for social-distancing.
Judi added: “The poses might be mask-free, but Sophie appears to be taking the lead in terms of spatial preference by communicating via her facial expressions and defining herself as a viewer rather than a ‘performer’ here.
“It’s a low-key look that still has impact though, thanks to her engaging smiles and eye contact.”
Sophie has had a busy few days and took part in the virtual London Marathon at the weekend to help raise awareness for learning disability charity Mencap.
The Countess ran a stretch of the London Marathon route in Great Windsor Park alongside Mencap runner Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, who has learning difficulties.
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Following the run, Sophie said: “It was an honour to join Tomas even just for a small part of his triumph today, as he completes the virtual London Marathon in support of Mencap.
“Tomas has shown what people with a learning disability can achieve with the right support. He is an inspiration!”
On Tuesday, Sophie also carried out a virtual engagement that was plugged by the Royal Family’s official Twitter account.
The Countess took part in a virtual conference with organisation Wilton Park to discuss how women can help in peace negotiations in the Middle East.
The Royal Family tweeted about the meeting on Twitter.
The tweet read: “The Countess of Wessex joined a virtual @WiltonPark conference today on the vital role women play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations and peacebuilding in the Arab world.”
Sophie and Prince Edward live at Bagshot Park in Surrey with their two children Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James, Viscount Severn, 12.
The Wessexes are said to be favourites of the Queen’s and were the first family members to visit her at Balmoral this summer.
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