Sophie, Countess of Wessex

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex before the wedding of Madeleine of Sweden (2013)

HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex , GCVO (born January 20, 1965 in Oxford ; born Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones ) is a patron, former PR manager, and through her marriage to Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex , the youngest son of the Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , member of the British royal family.

Origin and education

Sophie Rhys-Jones is the daughter of Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones (* 1931), a tire dealer, and his wife Mary Rhys-Jones, née O'Sullivan (* 1934 in Ireland; † August 29, 2005 in Tunbridge Wells ), a from Ireland coming secretary. Her parents had been married since 1961. Sophie has a brother, David Bournes Rhys-Jones (* 1963). The paternal grandparents were Theophilus Rhys Jones (1902-1959), Rector, and Margaret Patricia Newal Molesworth (1904-1985). The maternal grandparents were Cornelius Thomas O'Sullivan (1896–1939), bank clerk, and Doris Emma Stokes (1901–1984). About her ancestor Nicholas St John (1526–1589) and his wife Elizabeth Blount, Sophie is related to her husband Edward, who is also descended from this couple.

Sophie grew up with her brother in the countryside in Brenchley, Kent . Sophie received her education at Dulwich College Preparatory School in Cranbrook and at Kent College For Girls in Pembury. She then trained as a secretary at West Kent College .

Marriage and children

Sophie, Countess of Wessex with Prince Edward before the wedding of Victoria of Sweden (2010)
British royal family
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HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

In 1993 Sophie met Prince Edward at a tennis tournament. She married him on June 19, 1999 at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle .

On the occasion of the marriage, her husband was given the title of Earl of Wessex as well as that of Viscount Severn to indicate the origin of Sophie's family from the Welsh borderland (the Severn is a river that has its source in Wales).

Sophie's full title is Her Royal Highness, The Princess Edward of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Countess of Wessex and Viscountess Severn .

Since her marriage, the Countess has been called Sophie Wessex in everyday life at her own request .

After having an ectopic pregnancy in 2001 and had to undergo emergency surgery, the Countess and her husband have two children:

She lives with her family in Bagshot Park .

Profession and duties

Coat of arms of the Countess of Wessex

After completing her training, she began a career in public relations . She worked in the London press department of Capital Radio and for various PR firms. In 1996 she founded her own PR agency R-JH Public Relations with a partner, Murray Harkin . In 2002 she had to resign as managing director of her company under pressure from the royal family and the public. The cause of this retreat into private life was a scandal known as the Sophie Gate .

In April 2001, the News of the World published tapes of conversations in which Sophie was derogatory of the Queen, Tony and Cherie Blair , and revealed details of their married life.

Together with her business partner, she had arranged a business appointment with a "Sheikh Mohammed" who allegedly had an assignment for her company. This sheikh was a journalist in disguise who recorded the conversation. The News of the World interview with Sophie, in which she defended against rumors that her husband was homosexual , also caused a scandal .

Since 1999 she has therefore increasingly devoted herself to charitable tasks and represents the royal family in public. It supports approximately 77 non-profit organizations. Many of them are dedicated to children or disabled people.

Orders and decorations

year Country Orders / decorations class
2004 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II member
2005 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John Lady of justice
2010 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Royal Victorian Order Grand Cross Lady
2002 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal medal
2012 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal medal
2005 CanadaCanada Canada Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan medal


A few weeks before the wedding, the Sun newspaper published photos of Sophie with bare breasts. The photos came from a vacation in Spain.

The Countess had to undergo many fertility treatments to get pregnant. In 2005 there were rumors of a new pregnancy that turned out to be false.

Web links

Commons : Sophie, Countess of Wessex  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Picture of Sophie's parents, Christopher and Mary Rhys-Jones , (1999) ( Memento from October 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Family tree of the Rhys-Jones family ( Memento from July 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Family tree
  4. ^ Wedding, article from Spiegel Online from June 19, 1999
  5. ^ Ectopic pregnancy and emergency surgery, article from Spiegel Online from December 7, 2001
  6. ^ Discharge from hospital, article in Spiegel Online from December 10, 2001
  7. ^ Pregnancy with daughter, article from Spiegel Online from May 6, 2003
  8. ^ Birth of daughter Louise, article from Spiegel Online from November 9, 2003
  9. Official announcement of the birth of Viscount Severn ( Memento of January 8, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  10. ^ Birth of Viscount Severn, article from Spiegel Online from December 17, 2007
  11. ^ Sophie-Gate I., article from Spiegel Online from April 2, 2001
  12. ^ Sophie-Gate II., Article from Spiegel Online from April 5, 2001
  13. ^ Scandal with business partners, article from Spiegel Online from April 8, 2001
  14. ^ Monarchy in crisis, article from Spiegel Online from April 9, 2001
  15. ^ Sophie-Gate III .: Real countess, false sheikh . In: Der Spiegel . No. 16 , 2001 ( online ).
  16. ^ Sophie-Gate IV., Article from Spiegel Online of April 20, 2001
  17. "My Edward is not gay", article from Spiegel Online from April 7, 2001
  18. ^ Family photographs of The Earl and Countess of Wessex with Lady Louise Windsor
  19. ^ The Countess of Wessex appointed to the Royal Victorian Order
  20. ^ Scandal over nude photos, article from Spiegel Online from May 26, 1999
  21. ^ Scandal over nude photos II., Article from Spiegel Online from May 26, 1999
  22. Apology from the Sun newspaper, article from Spiegel Online, May 27, 1999
  23. ^ Scandal over nude photos III., Article from Spiegel Online from May 28, 1999
  24. ^ Alleged pregnancy, article from Spiegel Online from August 10, 2005