Marrying a prince who’s part of Britain’s royal family is a pretty big deal and because of specific traditions and protocols that have been in place for centuries, the bride doesn’t always get what she wants. Queen Elizabeth II first has to approve the marriage for it to happen, then she picks the venue where the bride and groom will tie the knot, and the ceremony is choreographed down to every minute.
Some royal brides though want to have a say in different things. You may remember stories about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wanting to wear a specific tiara but the queen would not allow it. Well another royal bride Sophie, Countess of Wessex also wanted something on her big day that the monarch would not grant her. Read on to find out what that was and why Sophie didn’t get it.
Is Sophie, Countess of Wessex Queen Elizabeth’s favorite in-law?
Prince Edward’s wife is not one of the most visible members of the royal family but she is one of the most trusted and her dedication is valued by the queen. She’s even been called Queen Elizabeth’s favorite in-law over Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
“She is trusted and relied on by the queen in a way I couldn’t say applied to the Duchess of Cambridge or the Duchess of Cornwall,” a senior royal aide previously told The Sun.“She is like another daughter to Her Majesty, they are that close. She talks to Sophie in the way she used to talk to Princess Margaret. Sophie has filled a terrible gap in the queen’s life that was left when her sister and the Queen Mother died in 2002.”
“[The countess] is probably the best example of an outsider coming into the family and learning on the job,” royal biographer Robert Jobson added via The Telegraph. “She’s very much the queen’s favorite.”
But just because she’s the monarch’s favorite doesn’t mean she got everything she wanted on her wedding day.
What Sophie wanted to receive on her wedding day that the queen denied her
When a prince gets married, the royal family matriarch gives him and his new wife another title on their wedding day. When Sophie wed Edward on June 19, 1999, she knew she wasn’t going to have a duchess title added to her name because the queen’s youngest son did not want to be known as a duke. Edward was set to become the next Duke of Cambridge but he opted not to take a dukedom and requested to become an earl.
Royal author Katie Nicholl claimed that Sophie then wanted the title of “princess.” However, Queen Elizabeth said no to the higher-brow title for her daughter-in-law and gave Sophie the title of countess.
“The Countess of Wessex had wanted to be known as Princess Sophie, but the queen would not allow it,” Nicholl wrote in Vanity Fair.
The Express noted that “the queen’s reported dismissal of Sophie’s request appears to align with the correct usage of titles within the royal family. Only women born into the royal family may be known as ‘princess.'” Examples of this include Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Princess Charlotte.
Prince Edward is the only one of the queen’s children still married to his first spouse
In the years since her wedding, it doesn’t appear that Sophie really minds not having that princess title she may have hoped for. She is still married to Edward today and that makes him the only one of the queen’s children who is not divorced.
“I think we forget that Sophie is the middle generation — Sophie is the only royal bride of that generation that had any Teflon about her,” body language expert Judi James during an episode of the Pod Save the Queen podcast. “She is the only one that stuck. Windsor men are notoriously difficult to be married to.”
A source told The Sun that “The queen is also mindful that Sophie’s marriage has survived where her other children’s relationships have failed and she knows that is in no small way down to Sophie’s dedication.”
The Earl and Countess of Wessex have two children together. They welcomed a daughter Lady Louise Windsor in 2003 followed by a son James, Viscount Severn in 2007.