PRINCE EDWARD made a huge gaffe in 2001 that left his nephew Prince William “furious”, according to a royal expert.
Prince Edward and Sophie are increasingly stepping up to more virtual royal duties as the Earl and Countess of Wessex help the Royal Family cope with the departure of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They have joined Prince William and Kate, who seem just as busy as ever with their full royal calendar during lockdown. However, back in 2001, Prince Edward sparked a row that left William “furious”, just as the young prince had headed off to start student life at at the University of St Andrews.
The Royal Family were soon embarrassed when Prince Edward’s television production company Ardent were caught filming at the university – despite privacy agreements in place for William.
Veteran royal correspondent Robert Jobson, in his 2006 book “William’s Princess”, takes a look at the debacle.
Mr Jobson writes: “The programme was understood to be keeping Ardent afloat.
“Desperate times seem to have called for desperate measures for Prince Edward.
Prince William; Prince Edward (Image: Getty)
Prince William with Prince Edward and Sophie in 2015 (Image: Getty)
He adds: “William was furious.
“He felt his uncle’s company’s actions had threatened to undermine the carefully nurtured relationship between St James’s Palace and the media, and in turn that it would threaten the entente cordiale between him and the press.”
William’s father was also angered by the gaffe.
Mr Jobson continued: “When the story emerged, Prince Charles understandably went ballistic.
“He berated his youngest sibling, furiously demanding from the Queen that Edward be made to to choose once and for all between his public duties and his television production company – itself many believed little more than a vanity project dependent on Edward’s title for what little success it had.
“Relations between the brothers plummeted to an all time low as St James’s Palace publicly criticised Edward for his idiocy and the behaviour of his production company.
“In unusually blunt terms, a spokeswoman for Prince Charles said that he was: ‘Disappointed, very much so.’”
Mr Jobson adds: “Other officials more believably told me that Charles was in a rage about it.
Prince Charles takes William to the University of St Andrews in 2001 (Image: Getty)
Prince William at university in 2001 (Image: Getty)
“The word ‘incandescent was used and I learned that Prince Charles tore into his brother in a telephone conversation.”
However, it would not be until a year later that Charles would get his wish from the Queen.
In 2002, after the Countess of Wessex also faced questions about her commercial career, both Edward and Sophie stepped down from their working lives.
Added to this, the incident didn’t just sour relations with William and his father.
Mr Jobson continues: ”Even before the incident, Edward’s television programme had had little support from the Royal Family.
“Only the Duke of Edinburgh, who dotes on his youngest child, had agreed to be interviewed on camera as personal favour.
“But not even he could condone it now.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK