How ‘down to earth’ Sophie Wessex grew to be ‘invaluable’ to Royal Family

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex arrive at St George’s chapel

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In recent years, the Royal Family has seen the exit of several of its senior members; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sensationally stepped down from their working royal roles in 2020, while Prince Andrew has faded from view following the ongoing scandal of his association with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. But as the Queen has faced arguably some of the most difficult years of her near-seven decade reign, her son Prince Edward and daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, appear to have taken on an even bigger role in the royal spotlight.

Both Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex have emerged as a stable pair of hands to carry the Royal Family forward.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told “There is little doubt that, without the publicity that accompanies the activities of other senior royals, the Wessexes have made a highly significant contribution to the activities of the Royal Family.”

Sophie celebrates her 57th birthday on January 20, which will likely be a moment of light for the Queen during her thus-far rocky Platinum Jubilee year.

Mr Fitzwilliams added: “As Sophie celebrates her birthday, she will do so in the knowledge that she has the confidence of the Queen with whom she shares a love of riding and interest in military history.”

Some members of the Royal Family commend a huge amount of attention while out on engagements, such as Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

But like the Queen’s famously hard-working daughter Princess Anne, Sophie has often been praised for her ability to represent the firm without courting the limelight.

Mr Fitzwilliams added: “She has a down to earth image which is invaluable for the monarchy, especially after the Sussexes stepped down from royal duties and Andrew is in disgrace.

“Sophie and Edward’s involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme helps to perpetuate his remarkable legacy as does their daughter Lady Louise’s skill in carriage-driving, a sport in which the Duke excelled.

“So does the photograph, taken by Sophie in 2003, of the Queen and Prince Philip in the Scottish Highlands, which was published on the morning of his funeral.

“Her visits to South Sudan and Sierra Leone to further women’s issues and humanitarian causes were successes.

“She is hard-working, supportive, and embodies a sense of duty without courting publicity, so she is the ideal royal for these unpredictable times.”

Although Sophie is now widely regarded as one of the Queen’s closest confidantes, her foray into the royal spotlight faced some turbulence initially.

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Sophie had a high-flying career running her PR agency, RJH, until a media sting in 2001 saw Sophie switch career paths to become a full-time working royal.

In an interview with the Sunday Times in 2020, Sophie acknowledged it took “a while to find my feet” when adjusting to her new royal role.

She explained: “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.”

As well as being an asset to the Royal Family, Sophie is also thought to have been a great support personally to the Queen in recent years.

Sophie and her family live at Bagshot Park, just a short drive away from the Queen’s residence of Windsor Castle.

The last few years have undoubtedly been difficult for the Queen due to heartache and scandal, as well as the significant loss of her beloved husband and royal patriarch Prince Philip in 2021.

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