With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry out, someone needs to take over the couple’s responsibilities at Buckingham Palace. And rumor has it, the royal family already knows the perfect pair to do just that!

It appears Sophie Wessex and Prince Edward will take on more official duties now that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have walked away from their full-time roles as senior members of the royal institution. The 56-year-old countess, specifically, has become the family’s “secret weapon” and a great source of support for her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II, especially since the passing of her husband, Prince Philip.

But who exactly are the pair that have been hiding in the shadows for so long? Here are five things to know about Sophie and Edward:

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The Pair Kept Their Relationship Low-Key

Sophie (born Sophie Rhys-Jones) first met her future hubby while working at Capital Radio, but he was actually dating one of her friends at the time. Yikes!

However, the duo reconnected in 1993 at a charity event and soon began a relationship afterward. For the most part, Sophie and Edward kept their coupling away from the public eye until they announced their engagement in January 1999. According to Vogue, the youngest son proposed with a gorgeous two-carat oval diamond ring from a trusted royal jeweler, Garrard. In June 1999, the couple tied the knot in a simple and private ceremony in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. And as they say, the rest was history!

Sophie Doesn’t Hold The Title Of Duchess

In the past, there had been speculation before that Sophie’s title could change to duchess if she took on more obligations. It seemed plausible, especially since the beloved daughter-in-law has held the label of countess since 2003.

Unfortunately, Sophie reportedly lost out on the moniker of duchess and princess because Edward requested the title of the Earl of Wessex when they married. According to The Express, the prince was supposed to take on the Duke of Cambridge but loved the Shakespeare in Love character of Lord Wessex. So, the queen ended up giving it to him. This apparently made him the first member of the royal fam to be made an earl since Tudor times.

If we were Sophie, we would be pretty PO’d! However, the outlet reported Edward will eventually inherit his father’s Duke of Edinburgh title since he has been laid to rest. Royal expert Iain MacMarthanne told The Express that:

“It remains within the pleasure of the Queen to make a fourth creation of the title duke of Edinburgh, however, it has long been mooted that it will not be until the death of the Queen, and the accession of Prince Charles, that Prince Edward will finally be made Duke of Edinburgh.”

So, it will happen at some point for her!

Public Relations & Scandals

The mother-of-two worked in public relations before taking on a full-time role within the firm, which means she knows how to handle the press. Sophie began her career at companies like MacLaurin Communications & Media and worked with clients such as Capital Radio (where she first met her beau). She later launched her agency, RJH Public Relations, in 1996. After five years, Sophie closed the company to make time for her duties as a royal.

The training certainly came in handy as the Kent native has been subjected to bad coverage by the tabloids in the past. For instance, The Sun published topless pics of her that were taken during a trip with DJ Chris Evans in 1988 just a week before her wedding. To make matters worse, the images had been sold by a former friend and colleague, DJ Kara Noble.

Eek!

In 2001, Sophie came under fire again when a reporter from a now-defunct News of the World recorded her allegedly insulting politicians and other royal family members. She even allegedly referred to the Queen as the “old dear.”

Needless to say, the woman knows what she is doing!

Prince Edward Loves The Arts

Not only did Edward have a stint in the marines, he also attempted to have a television production career! The then-23-year-old first started at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company and later pivoted to television through his company, Ardent Productions. Sadly, the business kind of failed as it lost money on an annual basis, per The Telegraph. When it dissolved in 2009, the outlet reported that Ardent had only €40.27 (or roughly $55) of assets!

Since then, he has taken over the responsibilities and engagements of Prince Philip.

Edward & Sophie Are The Queen’s Favs

The couple appear to have a special relationship with the Queen, meaning they’re basically the monarch’s favorites. Sorry Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince Andrew (not really, though)!

Sophie has even become a “rock” for Elizabeth, especially throughout the process of mourning her late husband. A source recently told The Mirror she has been a “source of comfort” to the queen and would often visit her since the death of Philip.

“The Queen is very practical in making sure everyone is okay and despite her tremendous grief at the passing she is no different.”

The insider added:

“Sophie cherishes her relationship with the Queen and not only appreciates her guidance and wisdom throughout her own life, she is very protective of her. Their bond is very like a mother and daughter and the feeling of love and respect is quite mutual. It is very special.”

Their bond is so tight Her Majesty often asked for the patronage to hop in her car before attending church. As we said before, this is a BIG deal for the reigning ruler.

What did U find most interesting about Sophie and Edward, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments (below)!

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