The Countess of Wessex visited Hereford Cathedral to view the iconic Poppies

On the 25th April, The Countess of Wessex visited Hereford, to see the iconic Poppies: Weeping Window sculpture, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, and the county’s Home Front Herefordshire campaign. The visit started at Hereford Cathedral, where The Countess met Weeping Window artist Paul Cummins and 14-18 NOW Executive Producer Nigel Hinds, before viewing the sculpture, which is in Hereford as part of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the poppies.
photo posted with kind permission from photographer @KFriedmanPhotography, website:

Weeping Window is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at Tower of London in 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War. Poppies: Weeping Window is a cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies.
photo posted with kind permission from photographer @KFriedmanPhotography, website:

Weeping Window is part of The 14–18 NOW Poppies Tour, which gives people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The sculptures have already been displayed in 13 locations since the tour started in 2015, and viewed by over 3.5 million people to date. At the end of the tour they will become part of the Imperial War Museums’ collection. To learn more about the scultpture and the tour click here.
photo courtesy of Hereford Cathedral, shared via Twitter

Cathedral’s bid writer Clare Wichbold has shown The Countess of Wessex the memory cards left by visitors to Weeping Window and Herefordshire Home Front. HRH wrote her own card, a copy of which can be viewed in the cathedral with other recent cards. She wrote: “The weeping window of poppies is a beautiful & poignant reminder of the sacrifice given by so many. May we always remember them.” To view Sophie’s card, click here. Hereford Cathedral dates from 1120 and is renowned for being the home of the Mappa Mundi, 1217 Magna Carta and a unique Chained Library.
photo courtesy of Hereford Cathedral, shared via Twitter

14-18 NOW is a major, five-year cultural programme taking place across the United Kingdom to mark the centenary of the First World War. Working with arts and heritage partners all across the UK, programme commissions new artworks from leading contemporary artists, musicians, designers and performers, inspired by the period 1914-18. Since the start of the First World War centenary in 2014, 14-18 NOW has commissioned over 325 artworks, which have been seen by more than 30 million people.
photo courtesy of Hereford Cathedral, shared via Twitter

Afterwards, The Countess of Wessex met former World War II munitions workers from the Rotherwas Munitions Factory. They risked their lives and health during WW2 and today they were the guests of honour during HRH’s visit. Since January 2017 BBC Hereford & Worcester have been campaigning for them to gain official recognition for their efforts. Before being introduced to The Countess, the ladies who worked as munitions workers during WW2 were presented with commemorative badges by the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, The Countess of Darnley. Watch this short video to learn more, click here.
photo courtesy of Hereford Cathedral, shared via Twitter

Later The Countess was joined by the Dean of Hereford, the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor, to view the Ascension SAS memorial window inside the cathedral, dedicated to the Special Air Service and created by the renowned, Royal Academy sculptor, John Maine. Sophie also visited Hereford Museum and Art Gallery to experience the Herefordshire in the Great War exhibition, where she met local school children who took part in the Herefordshire Schools Remembering WWI arts and writing competition. The exhibitions form part of the Home Front Herefordshire campaign, which commemorates the county’s significant contribution to the war effort during the First World War.

Also today, The Countess visited Hereford Cider Museum. The Cider Museum is housed in a former cider making factory at Pomona Place in Hereford; the birthplace of Bulmer’s Cider. Henry Percival Bulmer started making cider in 1887 and a year later purchased a plot of ground on the outskirts of Hereford to build a ‘shack’ to make and store cider. Extensive cellars were later excavated and the building was extended to incorporate both the factory and offices. The company relocated in 1978 and the building was acquired by the Hereford Cider Museum Trust.
photo George Thomas via Cider Museum Twitter

After extensive renovation work the Museum opened in 1981 portraying the history of cider making worldwide. A tour of the Museum reveals the history of cidermaking and visitors have the opportunity of walking through original champagne cider cellars and viewing a copper’s workshop, vat house and cider making memorabilia. If you want to discover the history of cidermaking, how apples were harvested, milled and pressed, and how the resulting juice was fermented to produce cider, you will learn all that at the Cider Museum.
photo George Thomas via Cider Museum Twitter

Hereford Cider Museum Trust is an Independent Charitable Trust and was founded in 1973 to preserve the history of cider making worldwide. The extensive collection includes cider mills, presses, bottles, old photographs, watercolours, advertising memorabilia and a rare collection of English lead crystal cider flutes. The Trust celebrated its 45th year anniversary with the royal visit. After the visit museum shared this message on Facebook: “We had a wonderful afternoon hosting the visit of HRH the Countess of Wessex. The museum was full of friends, and cider maker friends talking about the importance of our favourite drink to a discerning visitor. Many thanks to George Thomas who kindly took the photographs.”

For tiny article & few blurry shots from earlier today, click here.

Outfit & jewellery:
Sandro Valina Jacket.
Denver fit-and-flare crepe dress by Emilia Wickstead.
Green amethyst earrings, no ID.
Heavenly Necklaces citrine bracelet sold out.
Prada Brown Suede Pointtoe Pumps.   
New bag by Sophie Habsburg, Gilda in black.

6 thoughts on “The Countess of Wessex visited Hereford Cathedral to view the iconic Poppies

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you Anna. Sophie looked beautiful as always, although I might have chosen a different colour shoe. However I really admire her work ethic and her style. Thank goodness we have your blog or we would rarely see her.


  2. Anonymous

    I love this style of dress on Sophie. She's worn a few designs in this style. It's business like and feminine at the same time.
    I noticed that Meghan Markle wore an Emilia Wickstead design, for the ANZAC service at Westminster Abbey, that Sophie had worn a few years back. Goes to show Sophie is a trendsetter 🙂 Thank you Anna for the coverage.


  3. Thank you Anna for continuing to bring the work of the Countess to the attention of the world. I am in Arizona, USA and would not know much at all about Sophie and the wonderful things she does without you! Please remember that you are appreciated.


  4. I don't think so, I've seen many designs by Kiki, but nothing just like Sophie's. I usually know when I see a Kiki piece, it is hers, and also those doesn't strike me as hers.


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