Who is Prince Edward's wife Sophie? How love blossomed when the Earl of Wessex was dating her friend
Royal insiders say that she is more like a daughter than a daughter in law to the Queen
An under-the-radar royal may sound like an anomaly, but that's exactly what Prince Edwards wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex is. It is perhaps her ability to maintain a low profile, despite her famous family, that has made her reportedly one of the Queen's most trusted confidants.
In a family that has often got a bad rap for not accepting outsiders, Sophie, who is the daughter of a retired salesman Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones and the late Mary Rhys-Jones, who was a secretary, shows that in her case at least, she is the exception to the outsiders rule.
So how did a young lady go on to marry the Queen's youngest son Prince Edwards? Let's take a look at Sophie and Edward's love story.
How did they meet?
Before living life as a royal, the Countess of Wessex had a career in public relations and worked for a number of firms including Capital Radio. It was at Capital Radio that Sophie met Prince Edward for the very first time. Sophie met Prince Edward when he was dating her friend, but sparks didn’t fly at the time. It was six years later when they met at a charity event that the attraction would blossom.
The two realized it was time to take their relationship forward. Their engagement was announced on January 6, 1999, and Prince Edward proposed to Sophie with a two-carat oval diamond flanked by two heart-shaped gemstones set in 18-carat white gold.
Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys Jones were married on June 19, 1999, at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle — the same location as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged their vows. On their wedding day, the Queen conferred the titles of the Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn upon Prince Edward, and so Sophie became known as Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex. The couple then spent their honeymoon at Balmoral Castle and moved to Bagshot Park, their home in Surrey.
The Earl and Countess have two children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. However, creating their beautiful family was not easy, particularly for the Countess. In December 2001, the Countess was taken to the King Edward VII Hospital after feeling unwell, and it was discovered that she was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy and the fetus had to be removed. Two years later, she delivered her daughter Louise prematurely, due to a placental abruption, which placed both mother and child in danger.
This was not the only complication, as daughter Louise was born with an eye condition known as strabismus, which has since been corrected. Since her daughter's own brush with vision issues, the Countess supports many charities, with an emphasis on those which support young people and children, and avoidable blindness.
“There is no smile quite like the one that is returned from eyes that once more can see,” the Countess of Wessex told the Sunday Express. Her daughter's eyesight is now fortunately perfect.
The Countess returned to Frimley Park Hospital on December 17, 2007, to give birth by cesarean section to son, James Viscount Severn.
Relationship with her famous mother-in-law
One courtier reportedly said, “If you’re asking who is Her Majesty’s favorite child, it’s none of them, it’s her daughter-in-law.” This was a statement referring to the Countess of Wessex. While some say that might be a stretch, it's not too much of a long shot. While many have often thought that Prince Andrew is the Queen's favorite son, those in royal circles say that it is Prince Edward.
The Queen's affection for Prince Edward aside, it is said that the Countess of Wessex is more like a daughter than a daughter-in-law to the Queen. The Queen also admires the way that Sophie the Countess of Wessex, managed to turn her life around after a few scandals at the beginning of her life as a royal.
Just two years into her marriage, Sophie was at the center of the PR scandal. Sophie, who ran her own public relations met with a 'News of the World' reporter pretending to be a sheik, who wanted to hire Sophie's firm to do PR. In these meetings, Sophie was recorded making unflattering comments about Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, as well as several British politicians.
However, it seems that initial missteps have been forgotten and the Countess of Wessex has not put a foot wrong since. Her sense of discipline, discretion and perseverance has now led to the Countess of Wessex being hailed as one of the Queen's biggest sources of support in her darkest hour.