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It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for the Royal Family.
From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from their roles as senior working royals, and the subsequent tell-all Oprah interview that alleged racism and bullying, to Prince Andrew’s disastrous BBC Newsnight appearance and ongoing legal troubles, negative press has followed the Royal Family around faithfully in recent years.
But despite all the drama, it’s been business as usual for certain members of the fold, who have continued going about their royal duties without getting too caught up in the noise.
Take, for example, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
Having been given more responsibility in the wake of Harry and Meghan’s exit, the low-key royal, who is married to the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward, is “trusted and relied on by the Queen” according to royal sources, and has pretty much steered clear of any of the royal drama that recent years have brought. (Case in point: when asked about Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview, the countess breezily quipped, “What interview?”)
Now, Sophie has spoken out on an important issue that you wouldn’t necessarily expect a member of the Royal Family to address: the impact of the menopause on women’s careers.
Joining the launch of the Menopause Workplace Pledge by health charity Wellbeing of Women, which is calling on all employers to sign up and support women going through the menopause, Sophie spoke of the tragedy of women having to give up job opportunities because of the change’s impact on their lives.
An estimated 900,000 UK women have quit their jobs due to the menopause, with research showing that many struggle to manage their symptoms while at work.
“Women having to leave the workplace because of the menopause is tragic,” Sophie said during a roundtable discussion yesterday. “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.”
The 56-year-old added, “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.”
This isn’t the first time that the royal has candidly spoken about the M-word, either.
After being announced as Patron of Wellbeing of Women last May, Sophie opened up about her own experience of the menopause, saying, “It’s like somebody’s just gone and taken your brain out for however long before they pop it back in again and you try and pick up the pieces and carry on.”
She added, “Really we should be celebrating the fact that we don’t have to have periods any more—it should be a liberation, but it feels like a shackle.”
More Royal Family members speaking out on traditionally taboo topics, please.