SOPHIE Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward celebrate 20 years of marriage today – and the Queen learned from the Palace’s mistakes with Diana and Sarah Ferguson to pave the way for Sophie’s royal life, according to a biographer.
Sophie Wessex fitted ‘perfectly’ into royal family says expert
Sophie married Prince Edward in a landmark royal wedding at St George’s Chapel in 1999 and the royal couple released a charming photograph yesterday from Royal Ascot to celebrate their anniversary. The Earl and Countess of Wessex began their romance in 1993, and the way Sophie was introduced to royal life was markedly different from Diana and Fergie’s experiences of the decade prior. Royal biographer Ingrid Seward, in her 1995 book “Prince Edward”, delves into the early days of the royal couple’s relationship and describes how the Queen had learned from the mistakes of the past.
Ms Seward writes: “That Edward should wish to have his girlfriend beside him as much as possible was perfectly natural.
“That the Queen should allow it to happen under her roof marked a significant change in attitude and approach.
“Both Sarah and Diana had moved into the Palace, but not until they were formally engaged.
“Even then they were carefully accommodated at the other end of the principal floor so that appearances could be maintained.
Sophie Countess of Wessex and Queen Elizabeth II (Image: Getty)
The Earl and Countess of Wessex married in 1999 (Image: Getty)
Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson did not have such a careful introduction to royal life (Image: Getty)
“Those strictures were set aside for Sophie. She was free to stay with Prince Edward wherever and whenever she wanted to.”
She continues: “It was an eminently sensible way of familiarising Sophie with a forbidding family of enormous complexity.
“The Princess of Wales and Duchess of York only discovered how difficult royal life could be after they were engaged and already en route to the altar.
“Sophie was being given a careful and subtle introduction, a fact which did not escape the notice of Diana and Sarah.
“Both would later complain (with more than an edge of resentment in their voices) that they had received no such help as they struggled to get to terms with their new situation.”
Sophie’s introduction to royal life has parallels with Kate Middleton’s, who similarly co-habited with Prince William when their relationship became serious.
While Edward and Sophie waited six years to get married, Kate and William dated for 10 years before they tied the knot.
One royal author has even called Kate the Royal Family’s “stealth missile” for the slow and careful way she was introduced to her role in the public eye.
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Prince William has acknowledged how he wanted to learn from the mistakes of the past, too.
In his and Kate’s 2010 engagement interview, William said: “I wanted to give her a chance to see in and back out if she needed to before it all got too much.
“I’m trying to learn from the past.
“i just wanted to give her the best chance to settle in and to see what happens on the other side.”
Source :EXPRESS CO UK