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Edward and Sophie: their love story

If one wanted to be cheeky, one could say this royal love story began with a match. Well, it did when Prince Edward, the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II, met Sophie Rhys-Jones at a tennis event in 1993. She represented firms across the UK, Switzerland, and Australia before she opened her own agency in 1996, giving herself a busy life for one that would change the moment she and Edward said their vows.

It wasn’t long until December 1993 that there was already speculation the new couple was to marry soon. In response, Edward sent a letter to newspaper editors denying the plans and asking the media to respect their privacy.

During a holiday in December 1998 in the Bahamas, Edward proposed with a two-carat oval diamond engagement ring flanked by two heart-shaped gemstones in an 18-carat white gold setting. The new engagement would be made public just after the new year on 6 January 1999. Because of a reportedly growing relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, Sophie was allowed to use the royal apartments at Buckingham Palace before the engagement.

On 19 June 1999, the couple wed at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The wedding was different from those of his three siblings who were married at more formal events at Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral. There was also a change with titles. There was no royal dukedom for Prince Edward when he married. Instead, on their wedding day, Prince Edward was made of Wessex with Sophie becoming known as the Countess of Wessex from the moment of her marriage. However, Queen Elizabeth II announced that her youngest son would, one day, take the title of Duke of Edinburgh. That promise was fulfilled in March 2023 when King Charles III bestowed the title on his brother for Prince Edward’s lifetime.

Despite troubles in December 2001 that led to an ectopic pregnancy, the couple would go on to have two children. Lady Louise Windsor was born in November 2003 and her brother, James (then Viscount Severn, Now Earl of Wessex) was born in December 2007. 

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About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.