The Countess of Wessex was visibly moved to tears on Tuesday when she unveiled a memorial to the 48,000 miners who worked in Britain”s coal mines during the Second World War.
Sophie, 48, personally went to the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire to recognise the work of the former miners, known as Bevin Boys.
PHOTOS FOR FULL GALLERY
And she was evidently caught up in the moment as she embraced the memorial”s designer Harry Parkes, 87, who was one of the many miners conscripted to help to keep Britain in the war.
In exchange for her unveiling the four stone plinths which make up the monument, Mr Parkes gave the Countess a miniature brass miner”s lamp, which she said she would wear as a necklace.
The joyous occasion, which the former miners had waited more than 60 years for, was met with glorious sunshine. The Countess, known for her sartorial style and recently named the first ever patron of the London College of Fashion, opted for a colourful print dress, white blazer, and nude heels, with her hair swept back into a loose chic chignon.
The Countess uncovered the memorial, which was draped in a Union Jack flag, before laying a colourful wreath against it.
She wiped tears from her eyes as she hugged Mr Parkes, in what was a momentous day for him.
“Dare I say we are among heroes and it is amazing to think so,” he said, delighted at the memorial”s location opposite a monument to the fallen of Gallipoli in the First World War.