Sophie Wessex, 56, is married to Prince Edward, 56, with the couple tying the knot in June 1999. Speaking about the female royal Sasha Swire, wife of former MP Hugo Swire, has revealed one of Sophie’s “real regrets”.
Before entering the royal fold, Sophie had a career in public relations and in 1996 she launched her own agency, RJH Public Relations, with her business partner Murray Harkin.
The name takes after her maiden name, Rhys-Jones.
But Sophie ended up stepping down as chair of the company in April 2001.
Ms Swire has suggested quitting the firm was a “regret” of Sophie’s.
Writing in her newly-published memoir, ‘Diary of an MP’s Wife’, she spoke about meeting the Countess of Wessex at a 2010 garden party at Belfast’s Hillsborough Castle, hosted by the then-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson.
Ms Swire wrote: “She talks about how she still worked at her PR company after her wedding, under the name Sophie Wessex, but was quickly forced to give it up because she came in for criticism for appearing in public with clients and was accused of using her royal status to promote her business.
“As she tells me this, there is real regret in her eyes, and sadness that this part of her life is gone and not allowed to return.”
The circumstances surrounding Sophie’s resignation from the PR firm were scandalous, with the Queen having to step in and instruct the royal to step down.
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At the time, Sophie said in a statement: “I am deeply distressed by the carrying out of an entrapment operation on me and my business but I also much regret my own misjudgment in succumbing to that subterfuge.
“This has been a difficult time for me.
“I take very seriously the issues raised and, naturally, regret any embarrassment above all to the Queen.”
The Queen also issued a statement, where she heavily criticised the “sting” by the News of the World.
The statement from Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen has discussed issues arising from this week’s media coverage with the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
“The Queen deplores the entrapment, subterfuge, innuendo and untruths to which [they] have been subjected in recent days.”
The Earl and Countess of Wessex are now full-time working royals and have recently formed part of the Queen’s “new firm” of eight.
The other members of the Royal Family include Sophie’s husband, Prince Edward, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and the Queen.