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Sophie Wessex wanted to settle in Australia with ski instructor beau before meeting Edward

Sophie Wessex samples strong whiskey

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Sophie and Edward live in Bagshot Park with their two children, Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13. The Countess is known to be one of the Queen’s closest friends in the Royal Family and has been a great source of comfort for Britain’s longest-serving monarch. However, before she met the Queen’s youngest son, Sophie was reportedly considering settling down in Australia with an instructor she had met during a ski season in Switzerland.

The Countess of Wessex, who is a keen skier, met the man when she went out to work as a ski rep in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

She later followed him back to Australia and began working as a courier and developed a passion for deep-sea diving.

However, the couple’s relationship ended, and Sophie moved to London in 1991, where she started to focus on her PR career.

She started working for PR company Maclaurin Communication and Media in 1993 – the same year she was introduced to Edward – and eventually co-founded her own firm, R-J H.

The late writer Garth Gibbs co-authored the book, ‘Sophie’s Kiss: The True Love Story of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones’.

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He spoke on the 1999 documentary, ‘Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones: The True Story’, which was filmed before the couple tied the knot the same year.

He said: “I think she was hoping to get married and settle down in Aussie.

“When everything went slightly wrong, she started getting homesick.

“The English girls want to come back to some more sophisticated people, put it that way.

“And she did immediately, and she went to work for Brian MacLaurin, where she really honed up on her skills.

“And her popularity was fantastic. She’s very popular with all the clients.”

Mr Gibbs claimed Sophie’s relationship with the Australian ski instructor was her most serious before getting involved with Edward.

He said: “She’s had a couple of flings, only a couple of serious love affairs.

“The Australian ski instructor was the most serious, I think.

“She followed him back to Aussie but then it cooled down.

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“Often when you fall in love on the snow slopes it turns out to be a bit of a damp squib when you get home.”

Before Sophie moved back to Britain however, she travelled around Australia with another man and his friends.

They were known to have visited tourist areas such as the Blue Mountains and the Great Barrier Reef.

Speaking about this period, Mr Gibbs added: “She was befriended by… another Australian who took her on yachting trips.

“I don’t know how close that relationship was, but he did come to England with her and offered to sell the story to one of the Sundays, probably the News of the World.

“But something made him change his mind. I’m not quite sure what and he’s never spoken a bad word about her.”
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