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Sophie Wessex fury: How Countess struggled with ‘extreme distress’ after ‘cruel betrayal’

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Sophie Wessex saw the preparations for her upcoming marriage to Prince Edward turn into a nightmare after the “cruel” betrayal of a close friend. The former PR executive saw personal pictures splashed on the front pages of international newspaper after friend Kara Noble sold snaps of the future royal to the highest bidder. Sophie was left in “extreme distress” because of the scandal: “Distress, extreme distress. She felt she’d been betrayed.”

Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke told Channel 5 documentary ‘Edward&Sophie: The Reluctant Royals?’: “Can you even imagine?

“You’re excited, you’re engaged, the press has been waiting for you to get engaged and boom, somebody sells a photo.

“And it’s of you topless, it’s devastating.”

Royal commentator Rebecca English branded Noble’s decision to sell the pictures as “cruel” as she praised the Royal Family for their immediate response to the publication of the photos.

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Ms English said: “This was an incredibly cruel and thoughtless thing to do and I think the reaction of the Royal Family was very clear.

“There was very immediate condemnation, not of Sophie, but of the woman who had done this.”

The pictures were reportedly taken during a holiday to Spain in 1988, at least five years before Sophie and Prince Edward first began to date. 

Despite the distressing experience, Sophie and Edward went ahead with their nuptials as planned and the pair recently celebrated the 21st wedding anniversary. 

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Sophie had been slowly asserting her role within the Royal Family, setting new precedents for royal girlfriends and boyfriends since first starting her relationship with Edward.

The then PR executive had become the first partner to be allowed to spend the night at Buckingham Palace and to join the royals on family events before receiving an engagement ring.

Younger generations have long been able to benefit from Sophie’s experience, as both Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie were able to set up home with their respective partners long before tying the knot.

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Both Sophie and Edward attempted to hold on to their private careers but a series of questionable decisions from both royals later led them to giving up their jobs.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have slowly established themselves as committed supporting actors to the Queen’s work.

Sophie has also emerged as a favourite of Her Majesty because of her hard work and her strong relationship with Edward after the Royal Family had to go through the divorce of three of the Queen’s four children.

Much like other senior royals, Sophie and Edward continued to work virtually during the lockdown as they shielded with their two children, the Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn, at their Surrey home, Bagshot Park. 

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