Prince Edward was under ‘pressure’ over Sophie Wessex marriage as royals ‘desperate’

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The Queen’s youngest son, 57, tied the knot with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 56, at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in 1999. The couple have two children together, Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13. Edward began dating Sophie in 1993 amid what was a turbulent time for the Queen and the Royal Family. In May 1996, the Queen’s son, Prince Andrew divorced his wife Sarah Ferguson, who is often known as Fergie.

Within three months, the Queen’s heir and eldest son, Prince Charles, then divorced his wife, Princess Diana.

A year later, in 1997, Diana, who was often known as the ‘People’s Princess’, was killed in a car crash in Paris.

Royal biographer Sean Smith claimed in a throwback interview that Edward felt “pressure” to marry Sophie.

The writer is the co-author of the book, ‘Sophie’s Kiss: The True Love Story of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones’.

He spoke for the 1999 documentary, ‘Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones: The True Story’, which was filmed before the Wessexes got married.

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Mr Smith argued that in a difficult period for the Royal Family, the Firm was “desperate” for some positive headlines, such as a royal wedding.

He said: “He had Charles and Diana’s divorce, he had Fergie and Andrew’s divorce, and he had the sad death of Diana.

“If he got married to Sophie at any time in the past few years, it would be seen as the good news the Royal Family desperately needed.

“He didn’t want that, it was too much pressure.”

However, Edward waited to propose to Sophie and it wasn’t until 1999 that the pair announced their engagement.

Edward was fiercely protective of his bride-to-be and issued an unprecedented defence of her privacy.

In 1993 the Prince sent a strongly-worded statement to the press amid intense media interest in his then-girlfriend.

He said: “I am taking this unusual step of writing to you directly in the hopes of stopping your reporters and photographers from destroying that part of my life that I am entitled to regard as private and more importantly, Sophie’s life.”

Since marrying into the Royal Family, Sophie has carved out a good relationship with her mother-in-law, the Queen.

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She is known to have been a key source of comfort to the monarch during Diana’s death and that of the Queen Mother in 2002.

Sophie also lives near the Queen’s Windsor Castle, with her and Edward’s royal residence of Bagshot Park just 11 miles away.

However, in her formative years, Sophie and her brother David were raised in a much more modest home in the village of Brenchley, Kent.

Speaking for the same documentary, Mr Smith added: “I would call her middle class.

“Her parents are not rich but they believe that education is a better indication of class than money.

“So, they were prepared to spend the money they do and did have on a good education for Sophie.

“She went to a private school in Kent, she very much had a village, middle-class upbringing.”
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