On Air Now
Early Breakfast with Gary King 4am - 6am
15 April 2021, 16:04
Sophie, Countess of Wessex married into the Royal Family with her wedding to Prince Edwarrd in 1999.
Since then, former businesswoman Sophie has become one of the hardest-working royals, regularly fulfilling engagements for the Queen around the UK and overseas.
But how did Sophie meet Edward and who are her children? Here are the important facts:
Sophie Rhys-Jones was born in Oxford, on January 20, 1965. She celebrated her 56th birthday in 2021.
She was born into a middle-class family. Her father, Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones (born 1931), is a retired sales director for an importer of industrial tyres and rubber goods.
Her mother was Mary (née O'Sullivan, 1934–2005), a charity worker and secretary.
Sophie also has an older brother, David (born 1963).
Her godfather is actor Thane Bettany, her father's stepbrother, and the father of actor Paul Bettany.
While working at Smooth's sister station Capital in 1987, Sophie met Prince Edward, the youngest son of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, when he was dating her friend.
She later met Edward again at a charity event in 1993, and the two began a relationship. Their engagement was announced in January 1999.
Edward proposed to Sophie with an engagement ring worth an estimated £105,000.
The wedding took place on June 19, 1999, at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. This was a break from the weddings of Edward's older siblings, which were large events at Westminster Abbey or St Paul's Cathedral.
Upon their marriage, Prince Edward was created a hereditary peer as Earl of Wessex, with Sophie becoming a Countess.
The family live at Bagshot Park in Surrey, while their office and official London residence is based at Buckingham Palace.
Edward and Sophie's children are styled as the children of an Earl, rather than as prince/ss and royal highness.
The couple have two children: Lady Louise Windsor, born November 8, 2003, and James, Viscount Severn, born December 17, 2007.
Lady Louise is now 17 years old and was a bridesmaid at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding in 2011. She was born with esotropia, and underwent an operation in an unsuccessful attempt to correct the problem in January 2006. However, she had further treatment in 2013 that corrected her vision.
James is now aged 13 and currently attends Eagle House School, a coeducational school near Sandhurst in Berkshire.
Before becoming a member of the royal family, Sophie first trained as a secretary. She then began working in public relations, representing firms across the UK, Switzerland, and Australia before opening her own agency in 1996.
In 2002, Sophie closed her business interests and began full-time work as a member of the royal family. She is now the patron of over 70 charities and organisations, including Childline and the London College of Fashion.
Sophie does over 200 royal engagements each year, including visits to schools, universities, and military bases.
Her charity work usually revolves around people with disabilities, women's rights, avoidable blindness, and agriculture.