Sophie & Edward: Marriage under pressure

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Prince Edward got married in 1999 after that they took over royal responsibilities and also have long been a rock-solid fixture among the ranks of the royal couples. But now they are parting.

According to New Idea, Countess and Earl of Wessex find themselves spending increasing amounts of time apart. And intriguingly, other family members may be to blame for the separation …

As per royal author Phil Dampier tells, “Prince Andrew’s personal scandals, along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s surprise move to walk away from their life and duties has had a knock-on effect for the Wessexes.

“In the absence of Prince Harry and Prince Andrew, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, has been stepping up to the plate and making a much bigger contribution on the royal scene,” Phil explains.

Once relegated to the background, Sophie, 56, has suddenly been called upon to take over a raft of royal responsibilities and public engagements. “I think Sophie was always willing to take a bigger role but she was overshadowed by more senior royals,” Phil notes. “But now her time has come.”

According to Phil, this transitional period has also shone a spotlight on the stark differences between Sophie and Prince Edward. While the countess has dutifully risen to the occasion, Prince Edward appears to be floundering in her shadow.

“I’m sure being in the spotlight has put pressure on Edward and Sophie and their marriage, but they seem to have learnt how to deal with it, and the plan seems to be Sophie out front and Edward in the background,” Phil adds.

“She is a rising star and ironically now much bigger than her husband Prince Edward. I think he knows that she has the magic quality he lacks but he seems content to stay in the background and support his wife. He looks after their children [Louise is 17; James 12] when she’s away and seems very family orientated.”

“The Queen and Philip have 1500 patronages between them, so who will fill the gap? There is a massive place for her, despite Prince Charles wanting a slimmed-down monarchy.”

Meanwhile, Phil predicts that Sophie’s sudden royal breakthrough may also give rise to another royal “star” waiting in wings.

“Their daughter Lady Louise is growing up fast and I’m told is highly intelligent,” the royal watcher adds.

“She could turn out to be a star in her own right and will get a lot of inspiration from her mum.”