HRH Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh
Sophie Rhys-Jones was born 20th January 1965 and grew up in Brenchley, Kent. After graduating from West Kent College, she began working in Public Relations. Her work took her to Australia and Switzerland before she opened her own firm in 1996.
She met her future husband, Prince Edward in 1987 and began dating in 1993. Their engagement was announced on 6th January 1999. They were married at St. George’s chapel in Windsor on 19th June 1999 and Prince Edward was given the title of Earl of Wessex, making Sophie a Countess. In 2023, to mark her husbands 59th birthday, King Charles III granted Prince Edward the title of Duke of Edinburgh, making Sophie the Duchess of Edinburgh.
Sophie and Edward opted to continue to work in the private sector until 2002 when they became full time working members of the Royal Family. In support of the Queen they have travelled to St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, South Africa, India, Qatar, Bangladesh and more. The Countess’s major areas of focus include preventing avoidable blindness, supporting survivors of sexual violence, agriculture and fashion. She is patron of over 70 charities and organizations and undertakes hundreds of visits a year.
In 2001, Sophie suffered an ectopic pregnancy and due to serious health risks, had to terminate the pregnancy. On 8th November 2003, she prematurely gave birth to her daughter, Lady Louise, after a sudden placental abruption. Four years later, she gave birth to her son, James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn. The family resides at Bagshot Park in Surrey.
Though both of her children were entitled to the styling of HRH at birth, (circa 2013 children and Grandchildren of the reigning monarch who descend from male line were entitled to the title. Since the abolition of male primogeniture in 2013, all children and grandchildren of the reigning monarch are allowed the style) they opted to use hereditary titles instead. Similarly, Princess Anne refused titles for both of her children.
The Duchess of Edinburgh always maintained a close relationship to the late Queen.
Sophie shares two children with Prince Edward (Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James Viscount Severn). Her mother passed away in 2005 and her father, Christopher Rhys-Jones, is retired. She has one older brother, David. Through her husband, she has three nieces and three nephews (Peter Philips, Zara Tindall, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, The Duke of Sussex, HRH Princess Beatrice and HRH Princess Eugenie).