Time for Sophie Wessex to step into the spotlight? As the Queen’s favourite daughter-in-law turns 55, royal expert reveals why she’s the perfect person to ‘pick up the slack’ after Megxit and Prince Andrew’s retirement
- Countess of Wessex, wife of Prince Edward, celebrates her 55th birthday today
- Sophie is a working member of the family and is personally close to the Queen
- Royal expert revealed the Countess could soon be given more responsibility
- Comes in the wake of the Prince Andrew scandal and the Sussexes’ departure
The Countess of Wessex is the ‘perfect’ person to ‘pick up the slack’ in the wake of the Sussexes’ departure Prince Andrew’s retirement, a royal expert has said.
Sophie, who celebrates her 55th birthday today, enjoys a particularly close relationship with her mother-in-law the Queen, 93, and already represents the Crown both at home and oversees.
Indeed later today Sophie and her husband Prince Edward, 55, will join the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they host a reception for the UK-Africa investment summit at Buckingham Palace.
Speaking to FEMAIL, veteran royal reporter Phil Dampier, author of Royally Suited, Harry and Meghan In Their Own Words, explained Sophie would be a safe pair of hands to take over the responsibilities that can no longer be carried out by Harry, Meghan and Andrew.
Right-hand woman: Sophie enjoys a close relationship with the Queen, 93, and could be the ‘perfect person’ to pick up the slack in the wake of Prince Andrew’s retirement and the Sussexes’ departure. Pictured, at a Buckingham Palace reception in October last year
Birthday wishes: The Countess of Wessex celebrates her 55th birthday today and the Royal Family Instagram account marked the occasion by sharing this photo of the royal
He said: ‘It’s been said for a long time that Prince Charles wants a slimmed down monarchy when he becomes king – but I’m not sure they meant this slim!
‘With Harry and Meghan off the scene and Andrew taking a back seat because of the Epstein scandal, they are becoming seriously under-staffed. Prince Philip is retired at 98, the Queen is nearly 94 and Charles and Camilla are in their 70s.
‘Princess Anne is 70 this year and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra are in their 80s. So who is going to take over the hundreds of patronages?
‘Prince Edward has kept a very low profile in recent years but his wife Sophie has become a star in her own right.
Important duties: The Countess of Wessex is a trusted pair of hands and already represents the Queen at high-profile occasions. Pictured, representing the Queen as the Reviewing Officer at The Sovereign’s Parade at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in December
Standing out: The Countess of Wessex has become a ‘star in her own right’ and would be a fine choice to take on more royal patronages, royal expert Phil Dampier noted. Pictured, with daughter Lady Louise Windsor (left) at an England Hockey training session this month
A close bond: How Sophie Wessex has become the Queen’s ‘favourite’
Sophie Wessex has become a trusted confidant of the Queen in the two decades since she married Prince Edward.
Speaking to the Sun last September, a royal source noted that Sophie is ‘trusted and relied on’ by the Queen in ways that the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are not, adding the Countess is ‘more like a daughter’ than a daughter-in-law.
It is believed Sophie is now seen by the Queen as the Royal Family’s safest pair of hands, because her marriage to Prince Edward has lasted, while Charles, Anne and Andrew have all been divorced.
Close: Sophie is often given the honour of travelling with the Queen when she is attending church services. Pictured, in Sandringham last month
The Queen and Sophie’s close bond is said to be down to their similar interests, with the pair often spending Saturday or Sunday evenings together at Windsor, watching old war films and historical documentaries.
Sophie is often given the honour of travelling with the Queen when she is attending church services at either Sandringham or Balmoral, which is said to be a sign of just how close they are.
In another sign of their bond, Sophie used the affectionate nickname ‘Mama’ when referring to the Queen in a speech last month.
‘She is very close to Her Majesty and is a favourite of hers. Recently she has been on several overseas trips and done fantastically well.
‘Now that her children are a bit older I think there could be a great role for her to play. She is 55 today and she is very fit and full of energy.
‘I think she wants to do more and would happily step up to the plate and take over more duties if asked.
‘Charles has to realise that you can slim down too much and they are running out of royals to do the nitty gritty work.
‘Sophie would be perfect to take up some of the slack and I think she has the potential to be a royal superstar given the chance. If it was Sophie’s choice I think she would grab it with both hands.’
Stepping down: It was announced on Saturday that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer carry out engagements on behalf of the Queen. Pictured, at Canada House this month
Seismic change: It comes following months of upheaval for the Royal Family that saw Prince Andrew step back from public duties in the wake of his carcrash Jeffrey Epstein TV interview
It comes following months of seismic change for the Royal Family that saw Prince Andrew step back from public duties in the wake of his car crash Jeffrey Epstein TV interview, and the Sussexes’ announcement that they would step back as senior royals.
On Saturday Buckingham Palace announced that from the spring Harry and Meghan will stop using their HRH titles and withdraw from royal duties, including official military appointments.
However the couple will be allowed to maintain their private patronages and associations.
Prince Harry was at today’s UK-Africa Investment Summit in London for a number of private meetings with heads of state.
It is thought he will soon fly out to join Meghan and one-year-old son Archie in Canada, where they have been living in a multi-million pound Vancouver Island bolthole since before Christmas.