Sophie, Countess of Wessex has been announced as the first ever patron of the London College of Fashion. The stylish royal, who has undergone a formidable style transformation in recent years, will carry out a three-year patronage with the college.
Sophie, 48, will be involved in its Better Lives campaign which aims to use fashion to bring about change, a sustainable future and improved wellbeing.
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"We are very proud to have the Countess of Wessex's support and look forward to working with her," said LCF professor Frances Corner.
"This is a very exciting time for the college and HRH's patronage strengthens the innovative work that we do and the contribution we will continue to make to the future of the fashion industry."
With the media attention focused on younger royals' fashion, most notably Kate Middleton, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, the Countess's elegance is often overlooked.
But in recent years Sophie, wife of Prince Edward, has proved that she is a force to be reckoned with in the sartorial stakes. In 2011, the year of the William and Kate's wedding, the Countess consistently stepped out looking flawless.
The scarlet Bruce Oldfield gown she selected for a glittering reception the night before William and Kate's nuptials turned heads. Months later at Zara Phillips's Edinburgh wedding to Mike Tindall her impeccable appearance in a chic Bruce Oldfield dress, matching jacket and statement Jane Taylor hat, prompted HELLO! Online readers to crown her the most elegant guest.
As well as a wardrobe overhaul, she also enlisted in the help of a personal trainer and her complexion glowed with a radiance that defied her years. The mum-of-two has upheld her reputation as a royal fashionista ever since.
While it is not unusual for royals to support a charity through patronage, about 3,000 organisations have royals as patrons or presidents, they are more often involved in charities that support health or social issues.
As part of the college's Better Lives project, the Countess will be involved in schemes that teach female prisoners fashion-related skills, projects with schoolchildren and awarding student scholarships.
Notable alumni from LCF include shoe designers Jimmy Choo, Emma Hope, Patrick Cox and one of the Duchess of Cambridge's favourites, Linda Bennett of LK Bennett. The college recently made its debut at London Fashion Week with MA students showcasing their collections.
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