Sophie and Edward: what key role after Prince Philip’s death could mean | the monarchy

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Immediately after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, the royal who most regularly visited Windsor, adorning television screens and newspaper photographs, was the Countess of Wessex.

Thanks to Sophie, 56, wife of Prince Edward, 57, the public learned about how the royal family was going through their mourning.

Sanctioned for speaking to the media, she revealed how the Queen was doing and how the Duke died peacefully. And it was through Sophie that the Queen published, on the eve of the funeral, her precious private photo of herself with Philip on the Balmoral estate.

Personal photograph of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh communicated to the media by Sophie
The personal photograph of the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh released to the media by Sophie. Photograph: Countess of Wessex / PA

This is all a testament to the Queen’s high regard for both Sophie and Edward. It also speaks to the prospect that, with the Royal Family greatly reduced by the departure of the Sussexes, the Wessexes will play an increasingly important role.

“Harry and Meghan would have formed an important part of the master plan for Charles’ lean monarchy. Removing them creates huge problems, ”said Joe Little, editor of Majesty magazine.

The Wessexes have had their ‘tough times’, like when Sophie, then running her own PR firm, got caught in a tabloid sting by making unflattering remarks about politicians, and when Edward was criticized for her television production company. But that was 20 years ago.

“They made mistakes. Anyone can fall for bear traps, ”said royal author Penny Junor,“ but they kept getting the job done and not singing or dancing about it. “

Sophie is close to the Queen, as she was to Philip. It is understood that Lady Louise, the daughter of the Wessex, will inherit the Duke’s driving car, after learning how to drive the car from her grandfather.

Experts say there is now a shortage of royals to cover the growing number of engagements and sponsorships, and no one would be surprised if Sophie were asked to step up. Among the main members of the royal family, only seven work full time: Charles, Camilla, Anne, Edward, Sophie, William and Kate.

There are others, less known, which are seen occasionally. But Princess Alexandra is 84, the Duke of Kent is 85. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are, by comparison, 76 and 74, respectively. “But people would have a hard time recognizing them on the street,” Little said.

Non-working royals include Harry and Meghan, who have permanently stepped down from their royal duties, and Prince Andrew, who has stepped back, “and it’s fair to assume he won’t be back in the fold. so soon, if ever. Little said.

Andrew’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, currently do not perform full-fledged royal engagements, although their father is said to have urged them to do so. And then there’s Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, doing their own thing.

Sophie’s public relations background makes her a natural communicator and she is comfortable with the cameras. “She’s got longevity too, been in the royal scene since the mid-90s, so she’s more experienced than Kate,” Little said.

Junor said Sophie had been “an asset for a while,” working hard over the years but not getting as much attention as younger royals. Edward has been busy with the Duke of Edinburgh’s awards program which he succeeded his father. He will also one day have his father’s title, when Charles becomes king.

Edward is the only one of the Queen’s children who was not divorced. As he sat down with his wife and their two children in the notebook in St George’s Chapel, they watched the part. “Coming back to the Queen Mother and the two Little Princesses, the idea was that the monarchy was a model family,” Junor said. It is now the Wessex and the Cambridges that seem to illustrate this model the most.

“Edward and Sophie are a very un-royal royal couple,” said Junor. “They have neither airs nor graces. They are very discreet. And they don’t have a sense of entitlement.

“So maybe we’ll see more. The public, I think, love them.

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