Sophie Wessex once snubbed Camilla after claiming people didn’t want her as Queen
Sophie Wessex joins in Liberation Day Tea Dance
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Tonight, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and her husband, Prince Edward, will watch ‘A Gallop Through History’, a spectacular horse show in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The theatrical arena show incorporates 1,300 performers and 500 horses and will take place each night of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which runs from Thursday May 12 to Sunday May 15. The final performance will be done before the Queen, if she is well enough to attend, and broadcast live on ITV.
Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, watched the first show on Wednesday evening; the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester watched on Thursday, Princess Anne will watch on Saturday while Sophie and Edward will watch today.
As full-time working royals, the Earl and Countess of Wessex are expected to play important roles throughout the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which culminate in a four-day weekend next month.
Initially, the couple did not want to forge careers in the Royal Family and instead pursued other ventures — Edward started his own production company, while Sophie had her own PR firm — but a series of missteps meant their careers came to an end.
Perhaps one of the most notable PR blunders was the ‘Sophie Tapes’, which happened just two years after her Royal Wedding.
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In 2001, while running her public relations firm, Sophie reportedly met with Mazher Mahmood, a News of the World reporter pretending to be a sheikh.
During one encounter, guised as a business meeting, Sophie made some eyebrow-raising remarks about British politicians and members of the Royal Family, including a remark doubting the public’s desire for a Queen Camilla.
Angela Levin, royal expert and author of the upcoming book ‘Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: A Royal Survivor’, claimed that Sophie told Mahmood that “a lot of people” did not want Camilla to be Queen.
Ms Levin told the 2020 Channel 5 documentary, ‘Edward & Sophie: The Reluctant Royals’: “She [Sophie] was asked about Charles and Camilla, and she said a lot of people didn’t want Camilla to be Queen.
“But when the Queen Mother died, he [Charles] would certainly marry her [Camilla].”
Charles and Camilla married in 2005, three years after the death of the Queen Mother in March 2002.
At the time, it was decided that Camilla would be known as Princess Consort rather than Queen Consort out of respect for Charles’ first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.
However, the Queen recently declared that it was her “sincere wish” for the Duchess of Cornwall to be named Queen Consort once the Prince of Wales ascends the throne.
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It has been over 20 years since the ‘Sophie Tapes’ were recorded, and public opinion of Camilla in that time has significantly changed.
She is no longer “that wicked woman”, and is instead a well-respected member of the Royal Family.
Once the scandal hit the tabloids, Sophie stepped down from her position, releasing a statement about the proceedings.
It read: “I am deeply distressed by the carrying out of an entrapment operation on me and my business but I also much regret my own misjudgment in succumbing to that subterfuge.
“This has been a difficult time for me. I take very seriously the issues raised and, naturally, regret any embarrassment above all to the Queen.”
Roya Nikkhah, royal editor at The Sunday Times, told the documentary that Sophie learned from the “painful lesson”.
She said: “I think it was a very painful lesson for her to learn, but the fact that she was able to be rehabilitated after that incident shows just how highly valued she was, and still is, in the Royal Family.”
In 2002, Edward left Ardent Productions — the company he had founded in 1993 — and he and Sophie began life as full-time working royals.
They have become integral members of the Royal Family, and are known to be particularly close to the Queen.
The Earl and Countess live in Bagshot Park, which is just 11 miles away from Windsor Castle — the monarch’s primary residence.
They are known to visit the Queen regularly, and their children — Lady Louise Windsor, 18, and James, Viscount Severn, 14 — are understood to have close relationships with their grandmother.
Louise will play a special role in the Royal Windsor Horse Show, paying tribute to her grandparents and the Queen’s historic reign.
She will drive Prince Philip’s carriage during the show in recognition of her grandparents’ little-known contributions to the world of equestrianism.
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