Does the name Sophie Wessex mean anything to you? Probably not unless your obsession with the royals is next-level nerdy. The thing is...we’re about to see a lot more of her, so it’s a good thing you’re here! Now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have stepped back from royal duties, the monarchy is scrambling to figure out who’s going to cover the couple’s 2020 itinerary. For context, last year, Prince Harry reportedly had 108 engagements in the United Kingdom and 85 overseas, while Meghan Markle (who, reminder, spent some time on maternity leave) had 45 engagements in the UK and 51 overseas. In other words, they did a TON of work on behalf of the royal family, and the queen is gonna need to find someone to replace them ASAP. Enter...Sophie, Countess of Wessex!
The Sun reports that Sophie has been tapped to “ease the burden” of Meghan and Harry’s exit, with a source saying, “Sophie’s a long-term favorite of the Queen and has been singled out as a person the Palace would like to help ease the burden. She’s very popular with other senior royals like Charles and Camilla and has proved to be extremely good at public engagements.”
So, um. Who is Sophie? Here’s what we know about Meghan and Harry’s rumored replacement.
She’s the Queen’s Daughter-in-Law
Fifty-five-year-old Sophie is married to Prince Edward, the queen’s youngest son. Here they are looking cute and whatevs on their wedding day:
She’s Already a Working Royal
Sophie used to work in public relations but became a full-time working member of the royal family in 2002. She seems extremely committed to doing charity work and going to engagements on behalf of the queen, so she’s a pretty natural fit to help “ease the burden” of Meghan and Harry’s exit.
Her Kids Are in Line to the Throne
Sophie and Edward have two children (hi @ Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn), who are 12th and 13th in line to the throne. I mean, they’re not going to be king/queen anytime soon, but considering the closest I come to royalty is the Burger King drive-through, I’m impressed.
Oh, and speaking of impressive things, Sophie is a casual descendent of King Henry IV (praying she and Edward aren’t related) and has ties to a family of viscounts, as ya do.
Sophie and the Queen Are SUPER Close
Apparently, they’ve been tight since day one, and Sophie even called Her Majesty “Mama” in a recent speech, which is a first! Meanwhile, the Daily Beast reports that Sophie frequently has afternoon tea with the queen—she’s kinda like a daughter to her.
Okay, and here’s a funny piece of evidence that the queen is super fond of Sophie. A source told The Sun in September 2019 that “if Sophie Wessex is staying at Sandringham, then you can pretty much guarantee the Queen will ask her—usually last thing on a Saturday night—if she would like ‘a lift’ to the church. And the same happens at Balmoral. The Queen likes to be completely calm before church and she finds Sophie’s presence soothing. Who gets the back seat is also one of those quirky royal ways that signals who is in favor. For example, Princess Anne may be staying at the same time, but how often do you see her in the Rolls?”
She’s Weathered Some Pretty Major Drama
Meghan and Harry have been vocal about their difficult relationship with the media, and Sophie’s been through it herself: Just a month before her 1999 wedding, topless photos of her were taken and published in a tabloid. Sophie received a public apology after Buckingham Palace released a statement, but ugh. Awful.
On top of that, according to the Daily Beast, Sophie was secretly taped by a News of the World “journalist” in 2001 mocking Tony Blair and calling the queen “old dear.” In other words, she’s experienced scandal and come out the other side. Hardly a surprise, then, that Her Majesty is confident she can take on some more work!
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