He may not hit the headlines as much as his older siblings, but Prince Edward Anthony Richard Louis, Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn, has had a sparkling career both as a member of the Royal Family and in his own right. Read on to learn more about Prince Edward’s childhood, young adult life, wife and more.
Prince Edward was born on the 10th March 1964 and is Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child and third son after Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew. He is currently 11th in line to the British throne. Prince Edward spent his early life being educated by a governess, before moving onto Gibbs School in Kensington and later Gordonstoun school, where his father the late Duke of Edinburgh and his elder brothers had attended before him.
Prince Edward did well at and was made head boy towards the end of his time at Gordonstoun, but academically he struggled and ended up with a C and two Ds at A Level. After a gap year in New Zealand, the Earl of Wessex read history at Jesus college Cambridge.
After a brief stint with the marines where he quit mid-training in 1987, Prince Edward turned his attention to theatre and television and ended up working as a production assistant for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company. Prince Edward is the first in his family to seek a career in the private sector.
He later formed a television company called Ardent Productions, where he worked on several dramas and documentaries primarily about his own families. While his shows did not do well in the UK and were accused of being out of touch they fared better in the US. Edward stepped down in 2002 to focus on his royal duties and the company was later dissolved.
Prince Edward is the only child of the Queen not to have divorced - Prince Charles’ second wife is Duchess Camilla and Princess Anne’s second husband is Timothy Laurence.
Sophie grew up in a typical middle class family in a quiet village in rural Kent. Privately educated, Sophie gained 8 O Levels and travelled while working for a few years. Unlike Princess Diana, Sophie had had a few love affairs prior to her royal marriage - including with an Australian ski instructor. Back in the UK, Sophie began working in public relations and organised several events - including her future husband Prince Edward’s summer challenge as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, which took place in 1994. She later set up her own PR firm.
Unlike his siblings, Prince Edward took his time introducing Sophie to his family. Sophie was in her 30s when she married and thus had life experience and a well formed sense of identity which may have helped her navigate life in the British Royal Family in a way some of her predecessors may have found difficult.
Prince Edward and Sophie were engaged on 6 January 1999. Unlike his brothers, Edward had a comparably small wedding at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle rather than Westminster Abbey. Prince Edward was made Earl of Wessex on his wedding day - a former region of England which hasn’t existed for many centuries. Prince Edward will also become the new Duke of Edinburgh following his father’s death.
The couple went on to have two children - Lady Louise Windsor born in 2003 and James, Viscount Severn born in 2007. In June 2019 they celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.
Prince Edward is a patron of many charities including the British Paralympic Association, the Commonwealth Games Federation, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Edinburgh International Festival. He has also taken over his father’s role in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, where he attends DofE Gold ceremonies. He and his wife have been full time working royals since 2002.
Want to find out more about Prince Edward? We’ve got you covered on True Royalty TV. This documentary explores the lives of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones. Often compared to Princess Diana (especially as some people think Sophie copied the late princesses' dress sense), Sophie has quietly and professionally maintained her role and relationship without the drama that has plagued her siblings in law. Find out more about the royal couple on True Royalty TV.