Royal connection: Sophie Wessex and Kate Middleton share one major similarity

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Traditionally Royal Family members have married another person with aristocratic lineage, especially if the royal is an heir to the throne. However, in recent decades modern royals have taken a much more progressive approach to choosing a spouse, with royals known to favour a match based on love and connection rather than wealth and titles nowadays.

As was the case for royals of the past, some of the Queen’s children married within the aristocracy and British upper classes in recent decades.

Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, the daughter of an Earl, while Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson, who also had aristocratic links.

However, a number of the Queen’s children and grandchildren have married ‘commoners’ in recent years.

Anyone without any official titles is technically classed as a “commoner” in Britain.


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Historian Marlene Koenig explained to Town & Country: “It sounds complicated, but in the UK, the only people who are not commoners are the Sovereign and peers of the realm, people with titles like Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron.”

The Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 and the couple have two children together.

Sophie comes from a middle-class family, as her mother was a secretary and her father a sales director for a tyre company, which would technically mean she is a “commoner” herself.

Sophie and Edward’s marriage has been highly successful as, unlike the rest of the Queen’s children, Sophie and Edward have bucked the royal trend and have not divorced.

While Edward’s choice to marry someone outside of the aristocracy may have been very unusual centuries ago, it has become much more common in recent years.

Like Prince Edward, many in the next generation of royals have also decided to marry someone outside of the upper-class bubble.

Prince William met his future wife, Kate Middleton, while studying at the University of St Andrews.

Although Kate’s family are known to have significant wealth, they are still without any official titles, meaning Kate is technically a ‘commoner’ like the Countess of Wessex.


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But more unusually in William’s case, when he married Kate in 2011 it was the first time an heir to the throne had married someone with no aristocratic lineage for more than 350 years.

William’s brother Prince Harry also decided to marry someone without titles, and he wed actress Meghan Markle in 2018.

As well as both being born to families without official titles, Kate and Sophie also shared similarities with their own working backgrounds.

Both Kate and Sophie held their own jobs before joining the Royal Family.

Kate worked for designer Jigsaw after graduating from St Andrews, and later worked for her family’s party business.

Sophie had a thriving career in public relations, and at one point worked for Capital Radio.

In 1996 Sophie also launched her own public relations agency, RJH Public Relations, which she ran with her business partner, Murray Harkin, for five years.

After marrying Prince Edward, Sophie became a full-time working member of the Royal Family, but explained in a recent interview she struggled to adapt to her new role at the time.

Sophie told Sunday Times Magazine: “Certainly it took me a while to find my feet.

“The frustration was I had to reduce my expectations of what I could actually do.

“I couldn’t turn up at a charity and go, right, I think you should be doing this, because that’s what I was used to doing in my working life.

“I had to take a really big step back and go, OK, they want you to be the icing on the cake, the person to come in to thank their volunteers and funders, not necessarily to tell them how to run their communications plan.”

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