SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

British RoyalsThe Edinburghs

Countess of Wessex goes back to school for Victorian-style lesson

The Countess of Wessex stepped back in time as she visited Somerset Tuesday, engaging in a Victorian school lesson, touring a coal mining museum, and learning about fashions of the past.

Sophie went back to school during her trip to the Radstock Museum. Set in Radstock’s Victorian former Market Hall, the museum tells the story of coal mining and life in the Victorian Era.

The Countess of Wessex toured the museum with Don Morris, CEO of Radstock Co-op Society and Dr Nick Hall, the chair of trustees at Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum. She also learned about the history of the Co-op, which is celebrating its 150th year.

“We are absolutely delighted that Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex is visiting our town centre,” said Mr Morris. “It is a great honour and privilege to be able to share with the Countess our Society’s history and the integral part it and its colleagues and members, both past and present, have played in supporting the local community.”

During her visit, she met children from local schools for a lesson in the Victorian classroom. Adorned in period dress, they lined up at desks where Sophie joined them to write on miniature chalkboards. She wrote “James,” her son’s name, on her board.

The Countess also saw a blacksmith’s forge and a miner’s cottage as well as an authentic co-op shop during her engagement at the museum.

The trip rounded out a busy day for Sophie, who also visited The Fashion Museum in Bath, taking in their Royal Women exhibition. The outfit she wore to the wedding of her nephew, Prince William, to Catherine Middleton in 2011 is part of the display, which runs through 28 April. But the focus of the exhibition is fashion worn by royal women of the past, including Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret.

Heading back to modern times, the Countess visited Gordano School in Portishead, officially opening its new dining hall and languages faculty, and learning more about their student-led First Aid in Schools pilot project.

Sophie watched a CPR and First Aid demonstration with St. John Ambulance and Duke of Edinburgh Award students, demonstrating the First Aid in Schools project.

The Countess of Wessex will end February by attending the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative Conference on Wednesday and three engagements in Surrey on Thursday.

About author

Kristin was Chief Reporter for Royal Central until 2022 and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.