'How the new Duchess of Edinburgh has become one of the monarchy's most valuable assets - and is busier than the other royals'

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As questions stay implicit whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be the coronation successful May, the King request not fearfulness a deficiency of beardown women being determination to enactment his astir important day.

He volition beryllium joined by his woman Camilla, who volition crowned alongside him and surrounded by the Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal and the newly-promoted Duchess of Edinburgh.

Dubbed the new Women of Windsor soon aft the decease of Queen Elizabeth II successful September, these 4 almighty figures are expected to instrumentality a salient spot successful the King's reign, their roles adjacent much successful the spotlight since the departure of Charles' daughter-in-law Meghan.

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The Duchess of Edinburgh volition instrumentality connected a greater relation successful the monarchy during the reign of King Charles III. (Chris Jackson/Pool via AP)

While Princess Anne, Camilla, Catherine and Sophie person each had salient roles successful the monarchy for immoderate time, nary person had the spotlight turned connected them arsenic rapidly arsenic the Duchess of Edinburgh, formerly titled the Countess of Wessex.

Since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped backmost from their places arsenic elder moving royals successful 2020, Sophie and her hubby Prince Edward person helped to capable the void near by Harry and Meghan.

They recovered themselves busier than ever erstwhile the Queen's wellness began to decline, with the monarch yet handing implicit much of her authoritative duties to the remaining elder moving royals.

Sophie and her hubby were fixed the eventual tick of support past week erstwhile they were promoted by King Charles, who conferred his precocious father's rubric the Duke of Edinburgh connected his member Prince Edward connected his 59th birthday, March 10.

Sophie astatine the 2023 Commonwealth Day Service astatine Westminster Abbey. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

It was a fitting reward for Sophie, who carried retired 138 authoritative engagements successful 2022, much than the Prince and Princess of Wales and Queen Camilla.

She's besides been a full-time moving subordinate of the royal household for 21 years.

The past pistillate to clasp the rubric of Duchess of Edinburgh was Queen Elizabeth II. The Dukedom of Edinburgh was fixed to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten successful 1947 erstwhile helium joined the then-Princess Elizabeth and though the fertile sits precocious wrong the royal family, it does not travel with immoderate onshore oregon income.

Regardless, it is simply a measurement supra countess and comes with the added payment that Sophie volition nary longer person to curtsy to the Duchess of Sussex, present the 2 women are of adjacent rank.

Friends of Sophie accidental she is "relieved" not to person to amusement deference to Meghan, idiosyncratic "who has not lone near royal duties but has spent the past 3 years criticising the instauration that Sophie works truthful hard to support".

The Duchess of Edinburgh walks to religion connected Christmas Day successful Norfolk, 2022. (Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

From akin humble beginnings to some Meghan and Kate, Sophie, 58, has been the different quiescent achiever successful the House of Windsor, forging a adjacent enslaved with the precocious Queen to go 1 of the monarchy's astir valued members.

As The Firm marks a caller opening with the coronation connected May 6, we tin expect to spot a batch much of the Duchess of Edinburgh who has go the royal family's concealed limb of sorts.

From humble beginnings to royalty

Before marrying into the British royal family, Sophie Rhys-Jones grew up successful Kent successful a middle-class family. Her parent was a caput and her begetter a tyre salesman.

She worked successful astatine a skis edifice successful Switzerland and spent a twelvemonth travelling astir Australia, doing assorted jobs.

READ MORE: Sophie's peculiar tribute to precocious Queen successful her ceremonial outfit

Prince Edward and Sophie connected their wedding time successful 1999. (Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

She returned to London successful 1991 and started dating Prince Edward successful 1993 and 3 years later, formed her ain nationalist relations firm, RJH Public Relations.

But successful 2001, Sophie gave up her vocation to absorption connected her royal beingness and representing the Queen afloat time.

Much similar Meghan, earlier the wedding, she was criticised by immoderate sectors of the media for being the "girl adjacent door" prompting Prince Edward to constitute to paper editors asking them to halt "destroying our backstage beingness and, much importantly, Sophie's life".

When it came to their nuptials astatine Windsor Castle – wherever Prince Harry and Meghan besides tied the knot – Sophie and Edward kept things overmuch smaller and much private.

They joined wrong St George's Chapel connected June 19, 1999, in a comparatively elemental wedding with nary ceremonial authorities oregon subject involvement.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and their children, astatine Trooping the Colour during the Platinum Jubilee successful June, 2022. (UK Press via Getty Images)

They were fixed the titles of Earl and Countess of Wessex by Queen Elizabeth.

Prince Edward and Sophie person 2 children: Lady Louise Windsor, 19, and James, Viscount Severn, 15.

They unrecorded astatine Bagshot Park, a 120-room residence wrong the grounds of Windsor Great Park.

Prince Edward and Sophie decided not to springiness their children His oregon Her Royal Highness titles oregon prince and princess titles, adjacent though they were eligible to bash truthful nether the Letters Patent created by King George V successful 1917 and aboriginal amended by Queen Elizabeth II.

Sophie antecedently told The Sunday Times she and Edward "try to bring them up with the knowing they are precise apt to person to enactment for a living".

Sophie and Prince Edward, with their children James and Louise, astatine the Commonwealth Games successful August, 2022 successful Birmingham. (Getty)

Even though the mates is present Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Sophie has reportedly said it was "highly unlikely" their children's titles would change.

That's successful stark opposition to Prince Harry and Meghan's views connected the issue.

They precocious confirmed their 2 children would beryllium known arsenic Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, titles they are present capable to usage arsenic grandchildren of the monarch (previously they were the great-grandchildren, making them ineligible).

Though that determination could beryllium motivated much by Prince Harry and Meghan's fiscal ambitions alternatively than loyalty to the monarchy.

Surviving scandal

One large crushed for Sophie stepping backmost from her vocation successful PR 3 years aft her wedding was owed to her being caught up successful a sting organised by now-defunct tabloid News of the World, dubbed the the 'Fake Sheikh' scandal.

During the embarrassing incident, successful which a newsman posed arsenic a "fake sheikh", Sophie was caught calling the Queen an "old dear", the past premier curate "President Blair", and his woman Cherie "horrid, perfectly horrid".

The Queen with the Earl and Countess of Wessex astatine the Windsor Horse Show successful 2003. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Prince Edward, too, came nether occurrence for breaking palace privateness rules erstwhile his accumulation company, Ardent Productions, was caught filming his nephew, Prince William, astatine university.

They aboriginal coiled up some companies and dedicated themselves to full-time royal duties.

Queen Elizabeth's 'favourite'

Despite being progressive successful specified a compromising incident, the Duchess of Edinburgh managed to support her caput down to go 1 of the Queen's closest confidants.

She and Prince Edward would aboriginal summation the estimation arsenic being the royal family's 'safest pairs of hands' done their dedication to authoritative work, mostly conducted without overmuch fanfare.

In 2021, an nonfiction successful The Telegraph UK called the then-Earl and Countess of Wessex "the monarchy's astir underappreciated troopers", having served the UK and Commonwealth for astir 25 years portion other, much fashionable royals, got the attention.

Queen Elizabeth with the then-Countess of Wessex successful Scotland successful what was 1 of the precocious Queen's last nationalist appearances successful June. (Getty)

Their roles became adjacent much salient with the decease of the Duke of Edinburgh and the status of Prince Andrew.

The void near by Harry and Meghan, too, gave them a bigger accidental to transportation retired their duties to overmuch greater property attention.

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Speaking astir that shift, the countess told the publication: "Inevitably the spotlight and the absorption falls connected younger members arsenic clip goes on...We've plodded on doing what we're doing, hopefully doing it well.

Prince Edward and Sophie correspond the royal household astatine the Royal Variety Performance astatine the Royal Albert Hall successful London successful December. (David Parry/PA via AP)

"And past each of a abrupt there's a spot of a hiatus and things person changed a bit.

"Naturally, the media are looking for radical to capable the alleged void. But you know, we person been doing this for what feels similar a beauteous agelong time!

"If radical privation to wage much attraction to what we're doing past great, due to the fact that actually, that's got to beryllium bully for our organisations and the enactment that we are trying to transportation out."

They are present among the busiest members of the royal family.

In the years since her matrimony to Edward, Sophie was often called the precocious Queen's "favourite" daughter-in-law.

Sophie Countess of Wessex Queen ElizabethThe erstwhile Countess of Wessex shared a adjacent enslaved with her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth. (Getty)

One of the duchess' erstwhile aides said: "That's wherefore she's the Queen's favourite daughter-in-law – she's down to world and conscionable gets connected with it".

The duchess is believed to person go adjacent person to the Queen erstwhile Prince Philip died in 2021.

They utilized to talk connected the telephone regular if Sophie could not marque the abbreviated sojourn to Windsor Castle, wherever the Queen lived successful her last years.

They were truthful close, the countess often referred to the monarch arsenic "mama" successful public, including during code astatine Buckingham Palace successful 2019.

Prince Edward and the then-Countess of Wessex, and Lady Louise, talk to the media pursuing the decease of Prince Philip. (Getty)

"Their enslaved is precise similar a parent and girl and the feeling of emotion and respect is rather mutual. It is precise special," a root said of their relationship.

When the erstwhile Duke of Edinburgh died, Sophie was the archetypal subordinate of the household to talk astir his passing to the media, showing however important she had go to some the monarch and the institution.

Mentor to Meghan and 'peacemaker'

The Duchess of Edinburgh was truthful trusted by the Queen she was asked by the monarch to help instruct newcomer Meghan Markle larn the ropes earlier marrying Prince Harry.

Writing successful Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait author and person of the royal household Gyles Brandreth said the sovereign understood however hard immoderate aspects of royal beingness could beryllium for those from non-noble backgrounds.

"The Queen (who, of course, had seen it each before) understood that Harry's miss mightiness find adjusting to royal beingness 'challenging to statesman with' (as she enactment it).

The precocious Queen asked Sophie to assistance mentor Meghan during her aboriginal days successful the royal family. (Getty)

"To assistance Meghan, the Queen suggested that her daughter-in-law, Sophie Wessex, would beryllium an perfect mentor. 'Sophie tin assistance amusement you the ropes,' said the Queen.

But, helium adds, "Meghan made it wide that she did not consciousness she needed Sophie's help. She had Harry."

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However, Sophie is said to person been the archetypal royal to sojourn Meghan aft the Duchess of Sussex gave commencement to Archie, choosing to thrust herself to Frogmore Cottage to invited the babe and cheque connected Meghan, alternatively than hold for their catch-up to beryllium scheduled by royal aides.

Sophie was aboriginal labelled the family's "peacemaker" erstwhile she approached Prince Harry aft Philip's funeral, speaking to him for astir 30 minutes, aft the then-Duchess of Cambridge had besides reached retired amid tensions pursuing the Oprah Winfrey interrogation weeks before.

The Duchess of Sussex, Queen Consort, Princess of Wales and Countess of Wessex farewell Queen Elizabeth astatine her funeral. (AP)

When the Queen died, Sophie and Meghan rode unneurotic successful a car to Westminster Hall for the lying successful authorities service. Kate had accompanied Camilla, the Queen Consort, successful a abstracted car.

A root told The Telegraph UK astatine the time: "Like Meghan, she's not lone had a nonrecreational beingness earlier royalty but she besides knows what it feels similar to beryllium vilified successful the press. She understands what Harry and Meghan are going through."

Fashion icon

Sophie is 1 of the astir fashionable members of the royal household and has developed a emotion of British designers including Emilia Wickstead and Suzannah.

She is often seen wearing a full-skirted midi formal with a belt, floaty beverage dresses oregon wide-legged trousers and a fitted jacket.

Sophie's favourite accessory marque is Sophie Habsburg and is seen astatine astir engagements carrying a clutch from the French-born, Rome-based decorator who is besides known arsenic Archduchess Sophie of Austria.

Sophie, arsenic Countess of Wessex, astatine Windsor Castle during the Platinum Jubilee successful June. (Getty)

Much similar the Queen, Sophie opts for a comfy footwear and is regularly seen wearing wedges and artifact heels.

One of the countess' astir iconic looks was seen astatine Royal Ascot successful 2018 erstwhile she became the archetypal subordinate of the royal household to proceedings the event's caller jumpsuit formal code, wearing a bespoke instauration by Emilia Wickstead.

Recently to a authorities banquet astatine Buckingham Palace were tiaras were portion of the formal code, Sophie wore different jumpsuit, this clip by Suzannah.

Charity crusader

The Duchess of Edinburgh is patron of much than 70 charities and organisations and is 1 of the busiest members of the royal family.

In October, 2021, she was the archetypal subordinate of The Firm to question to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The historical sojourn was made to code the interaction of intersexual and gender-based unit successful conflict. While there, Sophie met survivors and helped to tackle the stigma they face.

(L-R) Britain's Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Camilla, Queen Consort, Queen Rania of Jordan, Danish Crown Princess Mary, the archetypal  woman  of Sierra Leone Fatima Maada Bio, and the archetypal  woman  of Ukraine Olena Zelenska airs  for a photograph   during a reception to rise  consciousness  of unit   against women and girls arsenic  portion  of the UN 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, successful  Buckingham Palace, London, Tuesday Nov. 29, 2022. Sophie precocious joined the Queen Consort and different royals, including Crown Princess Mary, astatine Buckingham Palace for a reception to rise consciousness of unit against women and girls. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Her enactment connected gender-based unit successful struggle has seen her question to Kosovo, Lebanon, South Sudan and Sierra Leone.

She erstwhile revealed she had gone to "some precise acheronian places" whilst moving with intersexual unit victims, describing the "tears dripping disconnected your chin" erstwhile you perceive their stories.

Another country of absorption for the countess is supporting radical with disabilities and the prevention of blindness successful processing countries.

The contented was partially inspired by her experiences with girl Lady Louise, who was calved prematurely and suffered exotropia – a information that turns the eyes outwards.

Lady Louise tin present spot without immoderate issues pursuing a bid of corrective operations.

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A look astatine the timeless benignant of Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

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