Sophie Wessex helps children water a tree at Buckingham Palace
Prince Charles has been widely reported over the past decade to be planning a more streamlined firm to lead when he accedes to the throne. This could mean reducing the number of working royals and people who bear an HRH title, steps that would make the Royal Family less expensive for the taxpayer and more modern.
Royal author Brian Hoey believes there are a few royals currently considered full-time working members who could be “distanced” from the core of the Firm if the Prince of Wales’s reported plans, which he never confirmed, became a reality.
However, he does not believe Sophie and Prince Edward to be among them.
Rather, he thinks there is a possibility the Wessexes may take on an “even greater” share of work during the reign of King Charles than the one they have now.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think Edward and Sophie are also perhaps going to be included to take on an even greater share of royal duties than they do at the moment. I think they will.
Sophie and Prince Edward became full-time working royals in the early 2000s
Sophie and Prince Edward are two of the current 11 working members of the Firm
“And they will be welcomed.
“They had their problems in the past, as we know, Prince Edward was made fun of because of his theatrical ideas and Sophie because when she was working in public relations made one or two indiscretions if you like.
“But they have since behaved impeccably and done tremendously well since.”
Speaking about who could not be included in a possible slimmed-down monarchy, Mr Hoey said: “I wonder whether Prince Charles will maybe distance the semi-detached members of the Royal Family – the Kents, the Gloucesters – whether he will distance them from the centrefold of the Royal Family.”
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Sophie and Prince Edward with their children in March
When speaking about their past “problems”, the royal author referred to the careers undertaken by Sophie and Edward prior to their decision to fully dedicate themselves to royal duties in the early 2000s.
The Earl, a lover of the arts, attempted a career in entertainment and commissioned in the mid-1980s two musicals – which led to a job offer at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theater Company, where the royal worked as a production assistant.
Edward stepped into television production in 1987 with a charity show, which became known as It’s a Royal Knockout, poorly received by the media.
In the early 1990s, he created his own production company – Ardent Production.
Sophie and Prince Edward have two children – Louise and James
Sophie and Prince Edward on their wedding day
In September 2001, a two-man crew from Ardent was allegedly found in Fife town, near the university Prince William was studying at the time, a move seen as in breach of the media blackout agreed with the palace for the whole duration of the Duke of Cambridge’s studies.
However, Ardent disputed at the time claims the crew was trying to film the prince.
In March 2002, Edward stepped down as Ardent’s production director and joint managing director to concentrate on his public duties and support the Crown and the Queen.
In 2001, two years after marrying Edward, Sophie was also embroiled in a scandal when, working in PR, she shared personal opinions with a reporter pretending to be a sheikh, who the Countess had seen as a prospective client.
Sophie and Prince Edward got married in 1999
Much like her husband, Sophie left behind her career in public relations shortly after, to focus entirely on her patronages and serving the Crown.
Despite her misstep, Sophie is believed to have gained the trust of the sovereign over the years and to have grown to be one of her close confidantes.
The Countess has been described in the past by royal commentators as the Firm’s “secret weapon” and the Queen’s favourite.
Edward and Sophie, who live at Bagshot Park in Surrey, enjoy spending time at Balmoral Castle with the Queen over the summer and often visited, albeit in a socially-distanced way, the monarch and her late husband during the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns.
Prince Edward is Charles’ youngest sibling
This week, the Wessexes have been trusted with undertaking a tour in the Caribbean, where they will visit Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Antigua and Barbuda.
On Thursday, just one day before the beginning of the tour, it was revealed the royals were no longer traveling to Grenada as previously announced by Buckingham Palace.
The palace said the decision had been made after talks with the island’s government and governor-general.