Sophie Wessex: Expert discusses ‘surge in popularity’
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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 56, was the first Royal Family member to speak out following Prince Philip’s death when she told reporters gathered at Windsor Castle that the Queen had “been amazing” despite the devastating loss of her husband. Sophie is said to be the Queen’s favourite daughter-in-law and has been a huge support in recent weeks.
Ahead of Philip’s funeral royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: “Sophie has become extremely close to the Queen who spends a great deal of time with her and she will be a great comfort during this sad period.
“Her quiet dedication to royal duties is approved of by the Queen, who also enjoys watching films and discussing military history with her.
“She is one of the monarchy’s trump cards both at present and in future years.”
While Prince William, 38, and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 39, are future heads of the monarchy and some describe Kate as “a Queen-in-waiting”, it seems she is outshone by the Countess, who is “more experienced.”
Sophie and Prince Edward, 57, married in 1999 and have been full-time working royals since 2002.
Sophie is a skilled communicator having previously worked in PR and her years of experience within the Royal Family make her a force to be reckoned with.
While Sophie and Edward have had relatively low-key roles up until now they are expected to step up in the coming months as the Duke’s death, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s departure from the Firm and Prince Andrew’s withdrawal from duties have left a gap at the top on the monarchy.
The Wessexes are the youngest working royal couple aside from William and Kate which makes them the logical choice to fill the Sussexes’s shoes.
Editor in chief of Majesty Magazine Joe Little told the Guardian: “Sophie’s PR background makes her a natural communicator, and she is at ease around cameras.
“She also has the longevity, has been part of the royal scene since the mid-1990s, so is more experienced than Kate.”
Royal author Penny Junor said Sophie had been “an asset for some time”, working hard over the years despite keeping a low profile.
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Edward took over the mantle of his father’s iconic Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme following his retirement in 2017.
It is understood Edward will take on Philip’s Duke of Edinburgh title once Prince Charles is king.
Sophie and Edward have two teenage children – Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 17.
While she has been raised outside the royal bubble and is not expected to become a working royal, Louise joined her parents for several high-profile outings following Philip’s death.
She attended a church service with them in the Duke’s honour at All Saints Chapel Windsor on the Sunday after the Duke died.
Louise also joined her mum Sophie to read tributes left to the Philip by mourners in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Louise was close to her grandfather who taught her to carriage drive and it is understood that she has inherited his ponies and trap.
The Wessex family live at Bagshot Park in Surrey, a short drive from Windsor Castle where the Queen is currently based.
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