Prince Edward visits Reading University coronavirus researchers
The couple have spoken about how they struggled with public and press scrutiny and desired a more private life. With the anniversary of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell decision looming in January, it has emerged that they are not the only royals to struggle with being in the spotlight. Prince Edward once managed to sum up their dilemma while issuing a prophetic warning.
When asked about whether he would propose to his then-girlfriend Sophie Rhys-Jones, Edward said: “If you shut up, mind your own business and let me do it when I want, it’s much more likely to happen.
“The more people second-guess, the less likely it is. I just won’t do it.”
The Queen’s youngest son complained about media intrusion into the Royal Family, issuing what was later branded a “prophetic” warning to the Sussexes.
He said: “There is little escape for anyone in the public eye.
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Prince Edward made a prophetic comment about Meghan’s royal dilemma
Prince Edward and Sophie recieved the titles of Earl and Countess on their wedding day
“And for the Royal Family, nothing at all.”
These comments by Edward, speaking to the Radio Times in 1996, reflect Meghan and Harry’s reality that they cannot escape the press and public interest in what they are doing.
Even though they have stepped down as senior royals, many people are still interested in what they are doing, and hence the coverage continues.
Edward is also a good example of someone who tried to become “financially independent” and failed.
Prince Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior royals this year
Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, tried to keep up their individual careers after being given royal titles.
Unfortunately, it all ended rather catastrophically with both quitting their businesses in 2002 to become full-time royals.
Sophie worked in public relations, including four years at Capital Radio, which is where she was working when she first met Edward.
In 1996, she launched her own public relations agency, RJH Public Relations, which she ran with her business partner Murray Harkin, for five years.
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Meanwhile, Edward ran Ardent Productions, a production company making documentaries and dramas.
When Edward and Sophie married in 1999, the couple were made the Earl and Countess of Wessex, but soon found themselves in hot water in their work.
Edward was accused of invading the privacy of his nephew Prince William in 2001 while he was studying at St Andrews, defying the industry-wide moratorium on content on the teenager, which infuriated Prince Charles.
Meanwhile, Sophie was in trouble after a sting operation exposed that she had allegedly used her royal connections to further her business interests.
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There were also accusations that she had insulted members of the Royal Family and several politicians to an undercover reporter.
A News of the World journalist posing as a ‘fake sheikh’ claimed to have secretly recorded tapes of Sophie at the Dorchester Hotel.
While the paper did not run the story, the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror claimed that she had referred to the Queen as the “old dear”, criticised Prime Minister Tony Blair’s leadership as “too presidential” and called his wife Cherie “absolutely horrid”.
Buckingham Palace claimed the reporters were “selective, distorted and in several cases, flatly untrue”.
Edward and Sophie are now full-time working royals
It added that the Countess was “vulnerable to set-ups” while trying to pursue her own career.
Shortly after, both Edward and Sophie stepped down from their roles in their respective companies.
They received a one-off payment from the Queen of £250,000 and now run their estate with money from the Duchy of Lancaster.
However, since Meghan and Harry announced their plan to become financially independent, they appear to be making a success of it.
They have signed a huge deal with Netflix, are setting up a non-profit called Archewell and have a podcast deal with Spotify.
However, retail expert Andy Barr told the MailOnline in January that any commercial deal the couple makes would be “effectively trading on the back of their royal name”.
He added that it was “ironic, given they are seemingly trying to escape its clutches”.