Sophie Wessex and children arrive at Prince Philip’s funeral
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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 56, and her husband Prince Edward, 57, have shone as key members of the monarchy in the wake of Megxit. The royal couple were among the 30 guests allowed to attend Prince Philip’s funeral on Sunday and have spoken out about how the family and the Queen are coping in the wake of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death.
Edward is the Queen and Philip’s youngest child and is expected to inherit his father’s Duke of Edinburgh title.
Now the late Duke has been laid to rest, many may wonder at what point his peerage will pass on and Edward and Sophie will assume their new titles as the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
According to a constitutional expert, it will be up to the Queen to decide when to make Edward the next Duke of Edinburgh and it may not happen until after her death.
Expert Iain MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “In 1999, on the occasion of HRH The Prince Edward’s marriage, he was created Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn, and subsequently Earl of Forfar.”
He added: “It was also announced at this time that in due course Prince Edward would become Duke of Edinburgh.
“No specific details as to when this would happen, after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, were given.”
“It remains within the pleasure of the Queen to make a fourth creation of the title duke of Edinburgh, however, it has long been mooted that it will not be until the death of the Queen, and the accession of Prince Charles, that Prince Edward will finally be made Duke of Edinburgh.
“Royal titles and peerages are not one and the same thing. By George VI’s Letters Patent creating Philip Mountbatten a duke, earl and baron, so the normal rules of primogeniture apply.”
The expert added: “Technically, it will only be when these titles are again assumed into the Crown, on the accession of Prince Charles, that they will again become free to be recreated.”
Therefore it may be that Sophie and Edward only become the Duchess and Duke of Edinburgh once Prince Charles is king.
While sons of the Queen have traditionally been made Dukes upon their weddings it is understood Edward chose to be an Earl instead.
According to a royal insider, Edward turned down the Queen’s offer of the Duke of Cambridge title asking to be made the Earl of Wessex instead because of his admiration for the Wessex character in the film Shakespeare in Love.
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A source told the Telegraph in 2010: “He liked the sound of it and asked the Queen if he could have that instead.”
Sophie and Edward’s two children – Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13, were the youngest guests at Philip’s funeral on Sunday.
None of the Queen and the Duke’s 10 great-grandchildren were able to attend because of the strict 30-person limit on guests.
One royal commentator dubbed Sophie “the Royal Family’s trump card” for the extraordinary support she has provided the Firm in recent months.
Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “Sophie has become extremely close to the Queen who spends a great deal of time with her and she will be a great comfort during this sad period.
“Her quiet dedication to royal duties is approved of by the Queen, who also enjoys watching films and discussing military history with her.
“She is one of the monarchy’s trump cards both at present and in future years.”
Sophie and Edward have raised their children as private citizens and they are not expected to become working royals like their parents.
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