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British RoyalsThe Wessexes

The Queen gives Prince Edward a new Earldom on his 55th birthday

His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex has been granted the additional title of Earl of Forfar by The Queen on his 55th birthday. He and his wife, Sophie, will use the titles The Earl and Countess of Forfar when in Scotland.

The Earl of Wessex is the patron of several Scottish charitable organisations, such as The Edinburgh International Festival, the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and Badminton Scotland. The Earl of Wessex has also supported the non-formal education of thousands of young people in Scotland as the Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh Award, and he holds the annual Gold Award presentations at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. He was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church, The Queen’s personal representative to the Assembly, in 2014.

The Earldom of Forfar was first created in 1661 and became extinct as a title in 1715. It was a subsidiary title to the Earl of Ormond and was a title held by the Douglas Family. The 1st Earl of Forfar (1653 to 1712) was Archibald Douglas. His son, also Archibald Douglas, became the 2nd Earl of Forfar (1692 to 1715). The 2nd Earl took the title at the age of 20 and died without issue leaving the Earldom extinct.

Forfar is the county town of Angus with a population of just over 14,000. It is the principal county town nearest to Glamis Castle, the seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. The Earl’s grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was a daughter of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

The Earl of Wessex is Her Majesty The Queen’s fourth child and third son. He married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, and they have a daughter, Lady Louise Windsor (born 2003) and a son, James, Viscount Severn (born 2007). He was created Earl of Wessex on his wedding day, rather than a Duke. His children, though entitled to princely status and the style of Royal Highness, are styled as the children of an Earl.