Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex (Prince Edward and Sophie) are today celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary in private, probably at their Surrey home, Bagshot House.
Prince Edward is the only one of The Queen’s children never to have divorced. Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones as she formerly was, married in a private ceremony at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in 1999. He was the only one of The Queen’s children also to have had a relatively private wedding.
The wedding’s broadcast got an estimated 200 million viewers from around the world.
Just before the wedding, Her Majesty The Queen conferred a very unusual title on Prince Edward. He was made Earl of Wessex, contrary to the tradition of Royal children being given Dukedoms on their wedding day.
The official reason for this was that one day, when the Duke of Edinburgh dies, the Earl of Wessex will be given the title of Duke of Edinburgh so that he can continue Prince Philip’s work with the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme etcetera.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex have two children, who are the youngest of The Queen’s grandchildren. Also rather strangely, both were denied their rightful title and style of Royal Highness and Prince/Princess, instead assuming titles as children of an Earl.
The eldest of the Earl’s children, The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (born 2003) should be HRH Princess Louise of Wessex, save for a press release issued by Her Majesty on the occasion of the child’s birth. Likewise, Lady Louise’s brother, James, Viscount Severn should be HRH Prince James of Wessex, though as the eldest son of an Earl, he uses what’s known as a courtesy title as his own; hence Viscount Severn.