#USA Sophie has quietly and unobtrusively become one of the unsung treasures of the Royal Family #USNews
Hunkered down on her heels, eyes red-rimmed as she studied the floral tributes and loving messages, the Countess of Wessex appeared misplaced in thought.
Her deep sorrow was evident on this and each different picture of her seen in the days since the Queen died.
And it ought to come as no shock. Sophie and her mother-in-law had been so shut that she had become like a ‘second daughter’.
Indeed, after shedding her personal mum, Mary Rhys-Jones, to abdomen most cancers in 2005 at simply 71, she had taken to affectionately calling the Queen ‘Mama’.
They spent rather a lot of time collectively. Sophie and her husband Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, reside with their two youngsters only a stone’s throw away from Windsor Castle at Bagshot Park. Walking their canines collectively was a favorite past-time. They additionally shared a love of navy historical past, spending hours poring over historic paperwork in the Royal Archives at Windsor.
Hunkered down on her heels, eyes red-rimmed as she studied the floral tributes and loving messages, the Countess of Wessex appeared misplaced in thought
The seeds of their fond relationship had been sown in 2002 after the Queen misplaced first her sister, Princess Margaret, then her adored mom, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, inside weeks. It was such a consolation to have one other female relative in her life.
The shattering loss of life of her beloved Philip final yr introduced the Queen and Sophie even nearer, with the monarch typically inviting her to take her late husband’s place along with her in the again of the automotive.
This deep-rooted affection and respect explains why, as the Queen’s nearest and dearest gathered in Scotland final week to mourn her sudden passing, Sophie was the solely non-blood relative – other than Princess Anne’s husband, Sir Tim Laurence – who was entrance and centre of the intimate household group.
For Sophie, 57, has quietly and unobtrusively become one of the unsung treasures of the Royal Family. ‘Sophie wasn’t born into aristocracy. She’s at all times labored for a dwelling.
‘As countesses go, she’s fairly grounded. And that’s one thing the Royal Family wants,’ says one royal insider.
There is even a swell of chatter that Sophie and Edward – who’re set to be made the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh according to Philip’s needs – could possibly be ‘promoted’ to William and Kate’s second in command. How far they’ve each come after the shakiest of begins. In some respects, Sophie and Edward had been the Harry and Meghan of their day.
After shedding her personal mum, Mary Rhys-Jones, to abdomen most cancers in 2005 at simply 71, she had taken to affectionately calling the Queen ‘Mama’
Like the Sussexes, they insisted on making an attempt to interrupt the mould and forge profitable industrial careers – she in PR and he in TV manufacturing – in tandem with their royal duties.
Then Sophie was sensationally caught up in a humiliating ‘sting’ operation engineered by the News of the World after speaking with a ‘Fake Sheik’ posing as a possible shopper. Her taped indiscretions about senior politicians had been extremely embarrassing.
For his half, Edward was lambasted for making an attempt to money in on his royal hyperlinks in his industrial ventures. Unlike the Sussexes, Sophie and Edward wound down their companies and dug in to royals duties, rebuilding their reputations inside the Royal Family.
The Countess is now the second hardest working feminine royal after Anne, and has received plaudits for her selection of work on preventable blindness and the challenge of sexual violence in warfare.
One senior Whitehall supply informed me that her championing of the trigger has been ‘invaluable’.
‘She is not afraid to shy away from the questions that need to be asked of those in charge and hold their feet to the fire,’ they are saying.
Baroness Stedman-Scott OBE, Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, chatting with me in a private capability, has recognized Sophie for 18 years via a charity serving to the long-term unemployed. ‘When she first came to visit us she didn’t need any fuss or fanfare and I simply informed them to verify the place was tidy and the rest room was clear. She turned up on her personal and sat chatting. She’s such a pure,’ she enthuses.
There is even a swell of chatter that Sophie and Edward – who’re set to be made the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh according to Philip’s needs – could possibly be ‘promoted’ to William and Kate’s second in command
‘She’s additionally bought an awesome sense of humour, too. We attended an awards ceremony collectively and as we walked in someone wolf whistled [at her]. She simply turned to me and mentioned, “Was that for you?”’
Sophie’s picture, too, has modified over the years. The short-skirts and ill-fitting fits from the High Street she favoured as a younger PR govt had been way back distributed with. In the previous decade she has misplaced weight after going to the health club and taking over biking, and has stepped up her recreation in the trend stakes.
She has enlisted the assist of stylist Pandora Delevingne (mom of mannequin and actress Cara) and now favours collections by Suzannah London and Emilia Wickstead to flatter her physique and English rose complexion.
Indeed, Sophie, privately educated from a stable middle-class household in Kent (her father is a retired tyre salesman) has become the actual royal deal and what the Queen thought-about to be one of the most secure pairs of fingers in ‘The Firm’.
‘She fell into her role so brilliantly and has been dedicated to doing everything right,’ long-term buddy, Penny Mountbatten, ex-wife of the Queen’s cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten, informed me. ‘At the same time as conducting all her royal duties, she’s a hands-on mum [to Lady Louise, now 18, and James, Viscount Severn, 14] and the most loyal and supportive buddy you could possibly ever hope for. Finding the time and the stability to do all of that proper is de facto fairly genius. I feel she’s simply exceptional.’
Sophie, she stresses, has a core group of girlfriends from her pre-royal days. ‘She keeps them all very close. She is godmother to quite a few children and they all feel the same, that she is someone they can call any time for advice or guidance,’ she provides.
‘Being the Queen’s daughter- in-law, and one that has such a very shut relationship along with her, may have modified her nevertheless it didn’t. She’s by no means forgotten her roots.’
Another buddy, jewelry designer Belinda Scott, whose daughter, Camilla Hadden, was a bridesmaid for Sophie and Edward after they married in 1999, agrees. ‘She is a fiercely loyal friend who’d drop the whole lot to assist,’ she has beforehand informed me.
‘You can sit down with her and she will focus and sort it all out with you. And she’s fairly sensible and logical.’
Sophie is dedicated to and fiercely protecting of her youngsters, having endured critical medical problems throughout the delivery of Louise and an ectopic being pregnant.
‘She went through a lot to have her family and she and Edward have never relied on nannies. They have always had a rule that, when working, one of them is at home with the children as far as possible,’ Penny Mountbatten says.
And as a result of the Queen lived shut by, she bought to spend an awesome deal of time with Louise and James after they had been rising up, typically watching Mr Tumble on CBeebies after they had been little.
Former England cricket captain Sir Andrew Strauss has bought to know Sophie on the college run having met via their sons.
Sophie, privately educated from a stable middle-class household in Kent (her father is a retired tyre salesman) has become the actual royal deal and what the Queen thought-about to be one of the most secure pairs of fingers in ‘The Firm’
‘Sophie is fully involved with all the parents’ WhatsApp teams’, he says. ‘It must be such a difficult thing when you are involved in school stuff as just another parent, but on the other hand, you are a member of the Royal Family. You get the impression they are determined to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible.’
Royal sources inform me that Sophie has become one thing of a confidante for the new Princess of Wales, who sees that Sophie admires the manner through which she is balancing royal duties with motherhood. And Sophie has William’s seal of approval, too.
‘The next few years are going to be incredibly important for this country,’ Mark Foster-Brown, a detailed household buddy and chairman of the Wessex Youth Trust, informed me in an interview earlier than the Queen’s loss of life. ‘Sophie has never sought the limelight but as we go into the next phase of the monarchy it will be absolutely critical for the [then] Duchess of Cambridge to have a female sounding board.
‘And she simply couldn’t get higher than somebody like Sophie.’
Few would disagree.