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The Edinburghs

How Edward and Sophie quietly moved to the heart of the modern Royal Family

The Royal Family has slowly evolved over the last decade. In the first year of King Charles III’s reign, we’ve seen the senior members of the Royal Family solidify their new roles, including The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

Edward and Sophie’s position in the Royal Family has changed significantly since they married in 1999. Both had initially planned to continue working in the private sector, though both ran into hurdles within a handful of years. After Edward’s production company was caught filming at the University of St. Andrew’s while Prince William was attending, they made the choice to become full-time working royals. 

In 2022, Edward completed 143 official engagements, while Sophie completed 138. Their younger child, James, Earl of Wessex, is still in secondary school, somewhat limiting the time they can travel, but nevertheless, they are still working regularly. They both have dedicated causes – Edward focuses on The Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and Sophie supports many organisations working to end avoidable blindness. 

The couple has also avoided public scandals, for the most part, like other members of the family. While it does mean that they may have less name and face recognition with the public, it also means that there is less to argue against. 

They will remain working royals until their “retirement” unless they choose to pursue a different path. The King made Prince Edward the Duke of Edinburgh (in line with their parents’ wishes) for his 59th birthday in March 2023, further cementing his senior role. With The Duke and Duchess of Sussex not returning to royal life, The Prince and Princess of Wales still extremely limited in available time due to their younger children’s schedules, and multiple senior royals who are already past standard retirement age, it makes complete sense. 

However, it is unlikely that their children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex, will become working royals themselves. They are titled as the children of a Duke (formerly an Earl) rather than the grandchildren of a monarch. And their parents have clarified multiple times in various interviews and public outings that their children expect to find regular employment. Notably, Edward’s title was only granted for his lifetime, meaning that James will not become the Duke of Edinburgh in his father’s footsteps.

The Royal Family continues to streamline as the public has less appetite for high spending numbers, and it seems unlikely that in the next ten years, when both are working age, the public will accept two more working royals. 

The Edinburghs remain dedicated members of the Royal Family, though, and they have slowly built a name for themselves with well over a decade of service.

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