Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, has shone amid the coronavirus crisis and continued to carry out charitable work despite the difficulties posed by lockdown. From secretly volunteering to help make lunches for NHS staff to taking part in video calls with some of her charities, her tireless work has provided a much-needed morale boost to many during these difficult times.
Sophie is married to the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward, 56, and is said to be the Queen’s favourite daughter-in-law.
Prince Edward is the only one of Queen Elizabeth II’s children not to have divorced and his successful marriage to Sophie is said to be one of the reasons the Queen is so fond of her.
In recent week’s the Queen’s Royal Family Twitter account has shown its support for Sophie by regularly sharing updates about her work.
The Queen and Sophie are said to get on well and the Countess has occasionally stood-in for her mother-in-law when she has been unable to make an engagement due to a diary clash.
When the Countess stays with the Queen at Sandringham or Balmoral they often share the car journey to church together on Sunday’s.
According to royal insiders, this is a key sign Sophie has the Queen’s favour.
A former royal equerry told the Sun: “If Sophie Wessex is staying at Sandringham then you can pretty much guarantee the Queen will ask her – usually last thing on a Saturday night – if she would like ‘a lift’ to the church. And the same happens at Balmoral.
“The Queen likes to be completely calm before church and she finds Sophie’s presence soothing.
“Who gets the backseat is also one of those quirky royal ways that signals who is in favour.”
While Sophie was a royal outsider before she married Edward in 1999, the former PR guru has blossomed in her public role and proven herself to be an invaluable member of the firm.
A business expert who works closely with Sophie has revealed why the Countess stands out from other royals.
Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance, an organization which Sophie champions, told Town and Country: “She actually presents herself as an ordinary person and I think that is increasingly what the Royal Family needs to do.”
Another royal expert described Sophie as an “unsung member of the Royal Family”.
Hello! Royal Editor Emily Nash told Town and Country: “The Countess is one of the unsung members of the Royal Family and in fact she’s been working on quite gritty subject-matters for a lot longer than many people realize.”
She added that Sophie is “very well-liked” and the Queen is “particularly fond of” her.
However, despite Sophie’s stately credentials, she is unlikely to ever be Queen.
That is because Prince Edward is currently 11th in line to the throne and will continue to be bumped down as younger royals higher up the line have more offspring.
As the Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, 72, is first in line to the throne followed by his eldest son Prince William and then William’s children – Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince, Louis.
Currently ahead of Prince Edward in the line of succession are: Princess Eugenie (10th), Princess Beatrice (9th), Prince Andrew (8th), Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (7th), Prince Harry (6th), Prince Louis (5th), Princess Charlotte (4th), Prince George (3rd), Prince William (2nd) and Prince Charles (1st.)
Even if some extraordinary occurrence wiped out the line of succession and led to Prince Edward becoming king, as his wife Sophie would be a Queen Consort.
Queen Consort is the title given to the wife of the presiding British monarch.
So when Prince William takes the throne, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge will take the title of Queen consort.
The spouses of Royal Family members do not become part of the line of succession even though their offspring do.
Prince Edward and Sophie’s two children Lady Louise and Viscount James are 12th and 13th in line to the throne.