Prince Edward worried about Sophie Wessex ‘suffering stigma her whole life’ | Royal | News (Reports)

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Prince Edward visits Reading University coronavirus researchers

The Countess, who turns 56 today, has been married to Edward for 21 years and the couple have two children together: Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13. They are seen as one of the more stable relationships in the Royal Family, especially as Edward is the only one of the Queen’s children not to get divorced. However, the Earl used to be very worried about what dating him would mean for a girlfriend or wife.

He knew about the struggles he and his family endured with press interest and intrusion into their daily lives and relationships and was concerned that his partner would also have to put up with it also.

According to Ingrid Seward’s book ‘Prince Edward: A Biography’, Edward once said: “It’s not going to affect me at all because my anonymity has gone and I accept that.

“But you become very conscious of the feeling that if you try to get to know anybody they are just going to suffer a stigma for the rest of their lives.

“I cannot have a normal relationship with just about anybody ‒ but that’s the way it goes”.

These comments, which were made in 1986, reflected how Edward felt at the time about being a member of the Royal Family and having a relationship.

READ MORE: Sophie Wessex ‘unnerved’ after being thrust into centre stage

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Edward and Sophie with their children Louise and James in 2020 (Image: GETTY)

His worst fears seemed to be realised when, in 1993, he started seeing Sophie and the press had a frenzy over it, publishing numerous stories about her.

A host of acquaintances from her past materialised and claims ranged from speculation about her true hair colour to whether or not she had a good singing voice.

Sophie herself found the probing into her background “most unnerving”, because she had never been under such scrutiny before, unlike Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, had “no experience of dealing with the Royal Family”.

Ms Seward claimed Prince Edward “pleaded” with the media to leave him alone so his relationship with Sophie could “develop” in its own time.

According to the author, Edward was also scared of making the same mistakes as his siblings, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew, whose marriages had all ended in embarrassing divorces.

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Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones tied the knot in 1999 (Image: GETTY)

In a heartfelt letter from the prince to the press, he said he was worried his relationship would be “destroyed” after witnessing the breakdown of these marriages.

Ms Seward claimed that “the failures of the marriages of his beloved sister Anne and then, in rapid and ever more embarrassing succession, Andrew and Charles, made Edward even more determined to put caution before commitment”.

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Prince Edward wrote a letter to newspaper editors at the start of his relationship with Sophie, voicing his concern that history would repeat itself.

He wrote: “I am taking this unusual step of writing to you directly in the hope of stopping your reporters and photographers from destroying that part of my life that I am entitled to regard as private and more importantly, Sophie’s life.

“We are not planning to get married, we only met each other inthe last few months, but we are good friends.

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prince edward sophie wessex

Edward and Sophie’ romance timeline (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

“If this situation changes, we will let you know in a proper and formal manner.

“I am very conscious that other members of my immediate family have been subjected to similar attention and it has not been at all beneficial to their relationships.”

Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips in 1973 in a beautiful wedding that was broadcast around the world.

However, the marriage deteriorated over the years and Princess Royal was exposed for having an affair with Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen’s Equerry.

She quickly separated from Mark in 1989 and the pair divorced in 1992.

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Later that same year, Anne married Tim, who she has now been married to for 18 years.

Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 in a wedding that was beamed to nearly one billion television viewers in 74 countries.

However, it was not long before the fairytale began to fall apart, in a large part due to Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.

They separated in 1992 after several years of a miserable marriage, and finally divorced in 1996.

Tragically, Diana died in 1997 in a car crash in Paris.

Charles married Camilla in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall in 2005.

Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, but the Duke of York’s naval career meant they spent a lot of time apart, putting a strain on their relationship.

Sarah ‒ affectionately known as Fergie ‒ separated from Andrew in 1992 and divorced in 1996, mirroring the Waleses’ marriage breakdown timeline.

All of these doomed marriages had the added stress of being played out in the national media.

In the end, none of these first marriages lasted 20 years married, but Edward and Sophie will be celebrating their 22nd anniversary in June.

Prince Edward: A Biography’ was written by Ingrid Seward and published by Century in 1995. It is available here.

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