Sophie Countess of Wessex: Prince Edward’s first reaction to future wife in unusual meet

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A new Channel 5 documentary about Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, has offered insights into the notoriously private couple’s relationship. Royal commentator spoke about how the Earl of Wessex was “unconventional” and “adamant that a life of royal tradition wasn’t for him”. This led to him looking for someone well beyond the Royal Family circles when it came to choosing a girlfriend.

According to the documentary, Sophie Rhys-Jones, as she was then known, caught Edward’s eye in 1993.

They met when her company took on the publicity of one of his charity events.

The promotional shoot had hit a roadblock when a sports star pulled out at the last minute.

Prince Edward had been expecting tennis player Sue Barker to turn up but found Sophie had stood in.

Her boss, Brian MacLaurin, claimed he had played Cupid for them.

Channel 5 played a clip of him from 1999 talking about their first meeting.

Mr MacLaurin had said: “I said, ‘Prince Edward I brought this lady from my office instead of Sue Barker, would you still do the pictures?’

“He sort of rocked on his heels, looked around at her and said, ‘Yeah, I think that will be alright’.”

Daily Mail Editor-at-Large, Richard Kay told the documentary: “Certainly there was something about Sophie which Edward found immensely attractive.”

By December 1993, the pair had been quietly dating for a few months.

However, they were unable to keep it under wraps for too long.

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Royal biographer Ingrid Seward said: “A journalist named Andrew Morton rather brazenly went into Sophie’s office and asked her.

“She wasn’t going to lie, but she sort of hedged around it.

“Then the story broke and Prince Edward actually blamed poor old Fergie though it was nothing to do with her.

“The last thing Edward and Sophie wanted was for their relationship to become fodder for the tabloids.

“Edward took matters into his own hands, putting out a statement telling the press to back off of Sophie.”

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