SOPHIE, COUNTESS OF WESSEX enjoyed a low-key royal romance with Prince Edward – but her sisters-in-law Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson showed some “resentment” about the way she was introduced to the Royal Family, according to a royal biographer.
Sophie Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary this month, after their 1999 royal wedding at Windsor’s St George’s Chapel. The pair met in 1993 and have since welcomed their children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn. However, royal author Ingrid Seward suggests that the way Sophie was welcomed into the Royal Family caused some resentment from both Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson.
In her 1995 book “Prince Edward”, she explains how the prince slowly and carefully introduced his new partner to the ways of royal life.
Ms Seward writes: “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 Countess of Wessex, Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson (Image: Getty)
Prince Edward and Sophie Countess of Wessex’s royal wedding in 1999 (Image: Getty)
Ms Seward adds: “The failures of the marriages of Edward’s beloved sister Anne and then, in rapid and ever more embarrassing succession, Andrew and Charles, made him even more determined to put caution before commitment.”
Ms Seward also describes how the Queen learned from the mistakes of the past and allowed Edward and Sophie the freedom to stay with each other whenever they liked.
She 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.
The author continues: “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 floors that appearances could be maintained.
“Those strictures were set aside for Sophie.
“She was free to stay with Prince Edward wherever and whenever she wanted to.”
The Duke and Duchess of York, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex at this month’s Royal Ascot (Image: Getty)
The Wessex family at this year’s Trooping the Colour (Image: Getty)
However, the tensions between Edward, Sophie and Sarah Ferguson – affectionately known as Fergie – did not end there.
Ms Seward writes that Fergie was at the centre of a row when she was accused of leaking the news of Edward and Sophie’s relationship.
She adds: “Edward had once been close to the Duchess, but he had come to believe that she had made a fool of his brother (Andrew).
“Increasingly suspicious of his sister-in-law, he became convinced that she had leaked the information about Sophie to her press contacts.”
The source was in fact a Palace employee, not the Duchess of York, and Fergie was “incensed” at being blamed.
Ms Seward writes: “It was unjust and untrue and she took her complaint to the Queen.”
The Queen, who is “very fond” of the Duchess, intervened to quell the row.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK