Today is The Countess of Wessex’s birthday. To celebrate Sophie’s birthday, we’ve decided to share some interesting facts.
1. Sophie married Prince Edward on 19th June 1999 at St George’s Chapel. The Earl and Countess opted for a more informal wedding, compared to other Royal weddings. They met each other at a charity tennis event in the summer of 1993. The Duke of Edinburgh was also present.
2. One of Sophie’s godparents is Thane Bettany – an actor who has appeared in Doctor Who and is father of Marvel actor Paul Bettany.
3. Sophie is Patron of over 70 organisation. The Countess’ work includes championing women’s rights and gender equality, supporting people with disabilities, agriculture and fashion. Patronages include MenCap and Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.
4. The Countess of Wessex has two children with Prince Edward: Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13. The Royal has previously spoken of her expectation that her children will not use the HRH style they are entitled to as grandchildren of the monarch and that she hopes Louise will go to university.
5. Sophie began a career in public relations. Miss Rhys-Jones spent four years working at Capital Radio in the press and promotions department. In 1996, she launched her own PR agency, RJH Public Relations. Sophie ran the agency alongside her business partner, Murray Harkin, for five years, the company’s name reflecting theirs.
6. Her engagement ring consists of a two-carat oval diamond, which is set between two heart shaped gemstones in 18-carat white gold. The ring was made by royal jeweller Asprey and Garrard.
7. The Countess of Wessex has a close relationship with her mother-in-law, The Queen. On the Countess’s 50th birthday, she became the Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. The Trust is a charitable foundation, which was established in 2012 for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. The pair have also been seen riding together on a number of occasions.
8. Similar to The Duchess of Cambridge, Sophie is a keen sportswoman and has a passion for the outdoors. In September 2016, the Countess took part in a cycling challenge from the Holyrood Palace to Buckingham Palace for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Diamond challenge. The challenge raised more than £180,000.
9. The Countess of Wessex’s first overseas tour was to Canada in 2000, where she visited Prince Edward island. The island was named after George III’s son, the Duke of Kent and Strathearn – also Queen Victoria’s father.
10. The Countess was named as the first Global Ambassador for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Sophie has travelled to South Africa, the United States and Barbados to meet participants of the award.
11. The Countess of Wessex is a self-confessed fan of the science fiction show, Doctor Who. In 2013, the Royal held an event at Buckingham Palace to mark the shows’s 50th anniversary. Sophie got to meet Daleks as well as four actors who have played the main character – the Doctor.