Sophie celebrated her 57th birthday on Thursday and received a message from the Queen wishing her well. The Royal Family’s Twitter account posted a picture of Sophie holding a puppy – a reference to her taking over from Princess Alexandra as patron of the Guide Dogs charity last year. Sophie also marked her special day by volunteering at a vaccination centre with St John Ambulance where she assisted people getting their jabs.
The Countess of Wessex is Grand President of the charity and trained as a care volunteer last year.
Sophie is often said to be one of the Queen’s favourite members of the Royal Family and a close confidant of Her Majesty.
She was reported to have been a great comfort to the monarch as she mourned the death of her husband, Prince Philip last year.
Sophie’s close bond with the Queen goes back decades to before she married Her Majesty’s son Prince Edward.
While still Edward’s girlfriend, Sophie was given “unprecedented access to the royal homes”, including Buckingham Palace, according to a throwback documentary.
Sophie Wessex’ unprecedented access to Buckingham Palace: ‘Had own room!’
Sophie: Countess of Wessex is key royal for Firm
‘Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones: The True Story’, was released in 1999, the year the couple tied the knot.
Celebrity biographer Sean Smith, who appears in the film, said Sophie even had “her own room” in the palace.
Mr Smith co-wrote the book ‘Sophie’s Kiss: The True Love Story of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones’.
He said: “She has stayed many, many times at Buckingham Palace.
“She has her room in Edward’s apartment. He has his room. Exactly where they sleep is something I don’t really know.
Sophie Wessex: With Queen
“It would be a shame after being together for five years if they’d never done the deed.
Sophie, the former boss of a PR company, began dating Edward in 1993 after they were introduced by a mutual friend in 1987.
The couple live at Bagshot Park in Surrey with their children, Lady Louise, 18 and James, Viscount Severn, 14.
The stunning Grade-II-listed building, which has around 120 rooms, is not far from the Queen’s Windsor Castle.
As well as their own grand residence, Edward and Sophie also have apartments and offices in Buckingham Palace, allowing them to stay and carry out any business in London.
Buckingham Palace: Sophie had ‘her own room’
The documentary about their relationship also shows how Sophie became close to the Queen and was given a flavour of what royal life might be like.
The two women would go horse-riding together at Windsor – one of Her Majesty’s favourite pursuits.
Sophie’s proximity to the Queen and other royals before her marriage to Edward allowed her time to assimilate into life as part of the Firm, according to Mr Smith, who compared her relationship with Edward to that of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.
He said: “I think Sophie’s had plenty of time to decide what she does and doesn’t like about the Royal Family.
“We’re talking about five, six years of living that life.
“Diana had a much quicker introduction into the Royal Family.
“The engagement and marriage was done and dusted within a relatively short time.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK