'It's her time now': Sophie opens up on daughter Louise, 17, after year in lockdown together

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·Royal Correspondent
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The Countess of Wessex has spoken about life at home with her teenage children, saying she believes she has to let her daughter "live her life" and make her own decisions about her future.

Sophie, who has two children, Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, the Viscount Severn, 13, said she was pleased that she had been able to have so much time with them during lockdown but stressed "it's her time now" as Louise comes to make decisions about university.

"We have had a lot of lovely time together and this is her time now. I hope she will go on and do what she want to do, whether it's university or not university."

She told Radio 5 Live: "It's 18 months being together and for us, I cannot complain, we have a large house with lots of space, for us it's not the same as when you are living in confined quarters.

"In lockdown I delivered some food to a woman who had four children under the age of eight, she answered the door with an 18 month old on her hip, it was these sorts of temperatures, really hot, and just getting the children out... she was four floors up."

"I can put it into perspective."

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Lady Louise Windsor during a visit to The Wild Place Project at Bristol Zoo on July 23, 2019 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Lady Louise Windsor during a visit to The Wild Place Project at Bristol Zoo in July 2019. (Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

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Sophie admitted she and her husband Prince Edward are protective of their children, but that Louise was not particularly interested in social media.

She told Naga Munchetty: "She doesn't really get involved with social media much at all, I wouldn't deny her going onto it but she is not that interested. There are platforms that she talks to her friends on, but she is private.

"She's got her eyes fairly wide open, but there will be moments where things don't go well for her. I hope we will be there to support her through those moments.

"I hope she will go on with her studies, which I think she probably will want to do.

"I have to let her live her life, it's not mine to live, I can only equip her the best I can and then she had to make her own choices.

"I hope for the next few years she can be as private as she wants to be."

The countess was being interviewed for Radio 5 Live ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, a subject which she has been involved in for years.

Sophie said she hoped her rising profile would be used to help the organisations she has worked with get more attention, so the issues don't fall off the agenda.

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As well as discussing her work, she also opened up about how the last few months have been for the Royal Family following the death of Prince Philip on 9 April.

She did not comment when Munchetty suggested Louise had inherited carriages from the late Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she shared a passion for the sport of carriage driving.

But she did share some stories of the grandfather and granddaughter, revealing one trip to Balmoral which left the young Louise embarrassed.

She said: "I looked out of the window and saw his Land Rover out on the lawn and I'm thinking what an earth is he doing?

"He had collected all of the boards that formed the outer ring of the dressage arena and he was setting it up in prime position on the lawn in front of the castle.

"I'm not sure the Queen was quite as excited as he was, because it's a very nice smart lawn.

"I called to Louise to see what her grandfather was doing and she was horrified, it was front and centre and everybody was going to be able to see what she was doing.

"In his mind it was completely practical, a lovely area of grass for her to practice on."

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 12: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Lady Louise Windsor takes part in 'The Champagne Laurent-Perrier Meet of the British Driving Society' on day 5 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 12, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Lady Louise Windsor competing in carriage driving at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park in May 2019. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Sophie also praised the late duke for his commitment and support to Louise when she took up the sport, which she continues to compete in now.

She said: "He was so pleased when she took it up because I took it up... I was OK, and I was at the beginning of my carriage driving career when I fell pregnant with Louise, and so I had to hang up the reins.

"So I was delighted when she decided she wanted to have a go.

"My father-in-law was always so good at encouraging her, he was so encouraging of Louise, not only when she said 'please can I have a go' but then when she showed a flair for it.

"He was brilliant with her, they used to chat away about it. He would always turn up if she was competing in the Great Park, and her training days."

Sophie lives with Prince Edward, Louise and James in Bagshot Park. Louise turns 18 in November. She and her brother are not expected to become full-time working royals.

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