News, Culture & Society

Countess of Wessex looks glamorous in floor length black gown at Sunderland Football club 

Sophie Wessex appeared in jubilant spirits as she attended a charity gala just days after giving an impassioned address saying women should not be forced to quit their careers because of the menopause.

The Countess, 56, cut a glamorous figure in a sweeping floor-length black gown embellished with a white flower brooch as she arrived at the event on Friday night.

She added a touch of colour to her elegant ensemble with a vibrant pink pashmina swung over her arm as she arrived at the Foundation of Light’s Gala Awards Dinner at Sunderland Football club.

Prince Edward’s wife, who is a patron for the football charity, accessorised her outfit with understated white drop earrings and simple black stiletto heels.

The Countess, 56, cut a glamorous figure in a sweeping floor-length black gown embellished with a white flower brooch as she arrived at a charity gala on Friday night

She added a touch of colour to her ensemble with a bright pink pashmina swung over her arm as she arrived at the Foundation of Light's Gala Awards Dinner at Sunderland Football club

She added a touch of colour to her ensemble with a bright pink pashmina swung over her arm as she arrived at the Foundation of Light’s Gala Awards Dinner at Sunderland Football club

She swept her blonde tresses back in a stylish up-do and sported a natural palette of make-up as she gave the crowds a warm smile and greeted other gala-goers.

The royal was seen chatting with the likes of singer-songwriter Emeli Sande, 34, and Sunderland AFC club Chairman Sir Bob Murray, who formed the charity in 2001, at the event.

The Foundation of Light charity aims to improve people’s lives through football and works with people from 18 months old to 80 years old, according to its website.

It boasts that it is ‘one of the most pioneering sports charities in the world’ and has won a number of awards for its ‘ground-breaking sports, health, community and education programmes’.

The Queen’s daughter-in-law’s appearance at the Gala came days after she said the number of women forced to quit careers because of the menopause is ‘tragic’. 

In an impassioned address, Sophie said women over the age of 40 were ‘fabulous’ and should be celebrated, not made to feel as if they have to ‘slope off into the shadows’. 

Prince Edward's wife, who is a patron for the football charity, accessorised her outfit with understated white drop earrings and simple black stiletto heels

Prince Edward’s wife, who is a patron for the football charity, accessorised her outfit with understated white drop earrings and simple black stiletto heels

The royal was seen chatting with the likes of singer-songwriter Emeli Sande, 34, after she arrived at the event

The royal was seen chatting with the likes of singer-songwriter Emeli Sande, 34, after she arrived at the event

She swept her blonde tresses back in a stylish up-do and sported a natural palette of make-up as she gave the crowds a warm smile

She swept her blonde tresses back in a stylish up-do and sported a natural palette of make-up as she gave the crowds a warm smile

She has previously spoken about her experiences of ‘the change’, including how she would lose her train of thought when speaking in public.

Calling on employers to support women, she said: ‘Women having to leave the workplace because of the menopause is tragic.  

‘We are fabulous in our 40s and we are even more fabulous in our 50s, 60s and 70s and we need to celebrate that and keep opportunities going for women.

‘Together we can support the thousands of women out there who form the backbone of our workforce.

‘We cannot let anyone leave the workplace feeling that they have got to slope off into the shadows. We have to be able to change that.’

The Countess has been keeping extremely busy as she also joined her husband Prince Edward on a visit to a market in Northern Ireland on September 23.

She was caught by surprise as she sampled fiery whiskey during the visit and grimaced after taking a sip of the drink on a visit to Elmfield Estate, on the the outskirts of Gilford, Co Down.

Sophie and Edward met local producers, artisans and customers at its monthly whole-food and wellbeing market. 

The couple had carried out a number of engagements in Northern Ireland, including a stop at Craigavon’s South Lake Leisure Centre. 

She was seen shaking hands with and chatting to Sunderland AFC club Chairman Sir Bob Murray, who formed the charity in 2001, at the event

She was seen shaking hands with and chatting to Sunderland AFC club Chairman Sir Bob Murray, who formed the charity in 2001, at the event

The Foundation of Light charity aims to improve people's lives through football. Pictured: The Countess of Wessex is greeted by Emeli Sande at the gala

The Foundation of Light charity aims to improve people’s lives through football. Pictured: The Countess of Wessex is greeted by Emeli Sande at the gala

Their Royal Highnesses also visited Craigmore Trees, supplier of the Centenary Trees for Schools scheme, meeting management and staff.

They heard from local schoolchildren who have selected a tree to mark the NI Centenary.

Following the stop at the market, the couple headed to Lisburn Museum where they toured the award-winning ‘Flax to Fabric’ exhibition, tracing the history of linen production in Ulster, and viewed live spinning demonstrations.

They also had the opportunity to view the design and watch the museum’s handloom weaver weaving a damask linen napkin commissioned to mark the granting of Royal status to nearby Hillsborough Village.

Edward and Sophie also received a tour of the new multi-use sports and leisure complex, and met staff and users at the state-of-the-art facilities.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk