Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 8, at Balmoral Castle, surrounded by her loved ones. Among them were Prince Andrew and Princess Sophie, who arrived at Balmoral with Prince William.
The Queen and her husband Prince Philip had four children — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. However, of all the four royal children, Edward remained the Queen’s favorite child.
Edward arrived in the world at 8:20 p.m. on March 10, 1964, and was the Queen’s lightest baby, weighing 5lbs 7oz. It was the first birth that Prince Philip attended, making it all the more remarkable for the royal couple.
The Queen, then 37, had asked her husband to be present, and he complied. Reports say that the Duke of Edinburg held his wife’s hand when the little champ was born.
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward waving to the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, during the Trooping of the Color. | Source: Getty Images
During her pregnancy, she had been reading women’s magazines that emphasized the importance of the father’s involvement in the birth of their children, and the idea fascinated her.
That’s why during Edward’s delivery, she broke protocol, and Philip became the first royal dad in modern history to bear witness to the arrival of one of his children.
Edward Had a Different Relationship with His Parents
While The Queen strived to be present in her children’s lives, royal duties sometimes got in the way, and she was forced to leave them under the care of experienced nannies.
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and their son, Prince Edward in 1976. | Source: Getty Images
However, things were different for Edward, the Earl of Wessex. He was born when the Queen had become an experienced monarch and could spare more time to be with her children.
Thus, Edward became the first of the royal children to develop a close relationship with his parents. His father was particularly fond of him and entrusted him with the legacy of his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. He has since taken over much of his father’s role in the organization.
His childhood, compared to his siblings, was more exciting, and at five, he met Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and declared that he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, on horseback, circa 1993. | Source: Getty Images
After completing his studies at Gordonstoun School, Edward had a gap year. He started working as a junior master and tutor at Wanganui Collegiate School in New Zealand. In 1986, he graduated with a second class lower from Jesus College.
Edward also served as a royal marine for a brief period but opted out when he was halfway through the twelve-month introductory training course. He had disliked his military life and could not handle the physical side of the training due to how grueling it was.
He instead preferred a career in theatre, becoming the first member of the immediate royal family to take that path. He set up his production company Ardent Productions in 1993, but it ended up being a big flop, and the prince returned to his royal duties.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex visit the Tomorrow’s People Social Enterprises at St Anselm’s Church, Kennington on the Countess’s 50th birthday on January 20, 2015 in London | Source: Getty Images
Edward Met the Love of His Life, Sophie
Sophie, then Sophie Rhys-Jones, and Edward first met in 1987 at Capital Radio. Edward had been dating Sophie’s best friend then, and a romance between them was the last thing on their minds.
They would meet again at a charity event in 1993 and began dating. Rumors of their budding romance became serious when Edward invited Sophie as his plus-one to royal weddings and other events.
However, Edward was keen on committing after witnessing the failure of his siblings’ marriages — Charles to Princess Diana, Andrew to Sarah Ferguson, and Anne to Mark Phillips.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex during their visit to Vauxhall City Farm on October 01, 2020 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
He was more determined and intentional about choosing his wife. They announced their engagement in January 1999 after Edward presented a stunning Asprey and Garrard white gold ring featuring a two-carat oval diamond surrounded by two heart-shaped gemstones.
They married that summer in a small intimate affair with a small guest list and no military involvement. The Queen gave Sophie a tiara made of pieces from her jewel collection.
After his wedding, Edward was eligible for the title of dukedom — the highest rank in the British peerage system. However, he chose the title of earldom awarded to him by the Queen instead.
James, Viscount Severn, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and Sophie, Countess of Wessex visit The Wild Place Project at Bristol Zoo on July 23, 2019 in Bristol, England. | Source: Getty Images
Edward and Sophie welcomed two children, Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor and James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor, both born at the Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.
Lady Louise and her brother James, the youngest of the Queen’s grandchildren, were very close to their grandmother and spent plenty of time with Prince Philip before he died. Lady Louise is also the Queen’s favorite grandchild.
Sophie Was the Queen’s Favorite Daughter-In-Law
When Edward married Sophie decades ago, he chose a woman after not only his heart but also a person for who his mother had great affection. Sophie was more than a daughter-in-law to the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth II and Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend a reception to celebrate the work of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust at Buckingham Palace on October 29, 2019 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, was one of Her Majesty’s closest confidantes, making it her duty to check on the Queen every few days after her husband Philip passed on. She ensured the Queen was well-taken care of.
Royal commentator Duncan Larcombe explained: “Sophie Wessex has emerged as the Queen’s unlikely ‘rock’ as the monarch adjusts to life without Prince Philip. Prince Edward’s wife has — according to sources — made it her personal mission to ensure Her Majesty is fully supported by the family.”
Edward had become the Queen’s right-hand man in recent years, taking over some of her royal duties. He became the best choice after Prince Andrew’s scandal saw him stripped of his royal duties, and the Sussex stepped down and relocated to the US.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex ride by carriage during the Trooping the Colour, this year marking the Queen’s official 90th birthday at The Mall on June 11, 2016 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Edward and Sophie were also the perfect fit as they lived nearby and would often pop by Windsor Castle to see the Queen and have a cup of tea. Edward has performed numerous royal engagements, including 258 in the UK and 87 overseas.
The monarch gradually entrusted high-profile royal engagements to them. Royal historian Dr. Ed Owens claims that the Queen had drawn in other seniors in preparation for Charles to take the throne.
Earlier today, Sophie and Edward arrived at Balmoral Castle to be with Her Majesty amid concerns over Queen Elizabeth’s health. While Edward is not expected to have a prominent place in the monarch’s future, he and Sophie will “help” Charles with his duties.