Everything you need to know about Sophie, the new Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie has been a member of the Royal Family for almost 25 years after marrying Edward in 1999

Tony Jones
Thursday 11 May 2023 11:04 BST
King Charles grants Prince Edward Duke of Edinburgh title to honour Philip’s wish

The new Duchess of Edinburgh is a former public relations woman who fell in love with a prince and became very close to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Sophie, formerly the Countess of Wessex, is married to Prince Edward, who has recently been conferred the title of Duke of Edinburgh that belonged to his late father, Prince Philip.

She is expected to attend the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla on Saturday 6 May with her husband and other members of the royal family.

Her position in the royal family has become increasingly more important since the departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and in recent years she has chosen to highlight challenging issues.

In 2019 she publicly committed herself to supporting the UK’s work helping victims of rape, sexual violence and exploitation in war.

She has also been working in other fields to promote women, having founded the Women’s Network Forum in 2014 which she chairs, and bringing together a cross-industry group of senior figures to promote gender balance and equality in the workplace.

During the pandemic Sophie privately volunteered with a range of organisations.

The duchess was born Sophie Rhys-Jones and like the Princess of Wales hails from a middle-class background with her parents sending her to private schools.

Sophie has been a member of the royal family for almost 25 years after marrying Edward at St George’s Chapel Windsor on 19 June 1999.

Britain Royals
Britain Royals (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

They were brought together by a mutual passion for the ancient sport of real tennis and romance blossomed between Edward, 59, and Sophie, 58, who once worked for Capital Radio.

Problems arose when Sophie tried to combine her life as a royal with her professional career.

She was caught in a ‘fake sheikh’ sting and accused of trying to use her status to promote her public relations business.

The “Sophiegate” newspaper controversy was hugely damaging, resulting in reports of indiscreet remarks about a string of public figures including Sir Tony Blair and Lord Hague.

It led to a lengthy inquiry into how working royals should be regulated and Sophie and Edward later stepped down from their individual careers to become full-time royals.

The couple have two children, Lady Louise Windsor, 19, and 15-year-old James, Viscount Severn, the new Earl of Wessex.

Prince Edward and Sophie pose with their children Lady Louise and James as they take part in the Great British Beach Clean on September 20, 2020
Prince Edward and Sophie pose with their children Lady Louise and James as they take part in the Great British Beach Clean on September 20, 2020 (Getty Images)

With her family she played a poignant role in the aftermath of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death giving a televised tribute to Philip.

Today Sophie is patron of more than 70 charities and organisations, with interests including agriculture, fashion, supporting people with disabilities, and the prevention of avoidable blindness in developing countries.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in