Sophie Wessex joins in Liberation Day Tea Dance
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Sophie, 57, and her husband Prince Edward, 58, the Queen’s youngest son, stepped in for Her Majesty at the weekend. The Earl and Countess of Wessex attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Saturday, taking the monarch’s place in the royal box. On Sunday, Sophie joined their daughter Lady Louise for a spot of carriage driving and attended an evening event to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June to celebrate 70 years of her reign.
Sophie is often reported to be a close confidante of the 96-year-old monarch, who has been by her side during the dark times as well as for celebratory events.
One such period came in April last year when the Queen lost her beloved husband Prince Philip, who like his granddaughter Louise, was also a keen carriage driver.
After the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, Sophie was a “calming influence” on Her Majesty, according to royal historian Marlene Koenig.
The US-based writer and librarian has researched Britain’s Royal Family for more than 40 years.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, she pointed out how the Wessexes’ royal residence Bagshot Park is a short drive from the Queen’s Windsor Castle.
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She said: “She was someone who could be right there in 15 minutes by car.
“She is mellow. She is well-spoken. She is very much a calming influence.
“She didn’t grow up in public. Her father was a tyre salesman.
“She was raised in an ordinary British home and fell in love with a prince.
“And the best part is that they took their time to get to know what royal life would be like. She is the real superstar.”
Sophie and Edward tied the knot in 1999, and now have two children together, Louise and James, Viscount Severn, 14.
The Countess was in the middle of her PR career when she fell in love with Her Majesty’s youngest son.
After marrying, the couple both kept up their business interests for a short period, Edward’s being a film company, Ardent Productions.
However, the Wessexes eventually put their careers aside to focus on their royal responsibilities.
Ms Koenig compared Sophie’s entry into the Royal Family to Birgitte, the wife of the Queen’s cousin, Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester.
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She said: “It’s like if you go back to the Duchess of Gloucester, Birgitte.
“Her husband was the younger son, and he was never expected to be a working royal.
“His brother was killed in a plane crash a month after their wedding.
“And all of a sudden, he became the heir to the Gloucester dukedom.
She added: “His father was largely bedridden and he and Birgitte were asked to step up.
“He was working as an architect and had to give that all up.
“I see Sophie as the same type of royal as Birgitte, who is Danish – thrust into a position.”
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