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Queen’s unprecedented show of trust after handing Sophie Wessex ‘key’ to Buckingham Palace

Sophie Wessex joins in Liberation Day Tea Dance

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex and her husband, Prince Edward, are expected to attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at Royal Windsor Horse Show tonight. The Earl and Countess will watch ‘a gallop through history’, a theatrical performance incorporating 1,300 performers and 500 horses, which tells the stories of royal past. On Sunday, on the final day of the horse show, the culminating performance will be broadcast live on ITV. 

This year’s special Royal Windsor Horse Show particularly focuses on celebrating the Queen and Prince Philip’s contributions to the world of equestrianism. 

It is particularly personal for Sophie and Edward as their daughter — Lady Louise Windsor — will drive the Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage in the show’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. 

Louise and Philip bonded over their shared love for the support, and following his death last year, she received his carriage and ponies. 

The Wessexes are known to be close to the Queen given that they live just a short drive away from Windsor Castle. 

One royal expert previously has claimed that Sophie was welcomed into the Royal Family almost immediately, particularly by the monarch herself. 

Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, told the 2020 Channel 5 documentary ‘Edward & Sophie: The Reluctant Royals’ that the Queen gave Sophie a pass to Buckingham Palace, something that had “never happened before”. 

She explained: “The Queen decided that she wanted Sophie to understand what marrying into the Royal Family meant. 

“What she did, which has never happened before, is she gave Sophie a pass to Buckingham Palace, so it’s like being given the key to a front door.”

Rebecca English, the royal editor at The Daily Mail, added: “She [Sophie] was allowed to pretty much come and go as she pleased. 

“She would stay over at Edward’s apartment in Buckingham Palace on a regular basis.”

Dr Anna Whitelock, a specialist in the history of the British monarchy, told the documentary that the Queen drew Sophie into “the heart of the Royal Family”. 

“By all accounts, Sophie was being drawn into the heart of the Royal Family, which is a testament to how she was perceived by the Queen in particular.”

Sophie’s relationship with the Queen has continued to blossom, and the pair are understood to be close confidantes. 

Their relationship is said to have become particularly affectionate following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. 

When Sophie addressed the media in the days after Philip’s death, she was visibly devastated. 

The Countess had been a loyal companion to the royal patriarch and had been by his side until the very end. 

Sophie has spoken warmly of her mother-in-law the Queen and late father-in-law Prince Philip.

During the 2017 ITV documentary ‘When Phillip Met Prince Philip’, Sophie said: “He’s [Prince Philip] constantly reading, keeps bang up to date with current affairs and everything else going on. 

“His knowledge base is amazing. His physical capability is extraordinary. He keeps himself pretty fit and he is active. 

“Everybody in the family really looks up to him and respects him.

Speaking of the Queen, the Countess told presenter Phillip Schofield: “I think it must be a fairly lonely place being the Queen. 

“As a female in the top job it’s important I think to have somebody that you can lean on, that you can discuss things with, that she can be open and honest with behind closed doors. 

“For her to have found somebody like him, I don’t think she could have chosen better. And they make each other laugh which I think is a half of a battle, isn’t it.”

Despite concerns surrounding the Queen’s health and mobility, the monarch has proved her passion for horses by showing up at the Royal Windsor Horse Show today. 

Her Majesty turned up in a Range Rover to watch her fell pony Balmoral Leia compete. 

Plans are reportedly in place for the Queen to attend the Sunday finale in a 4×4 in order to ensure her maximum comfort. 

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