For a long time, Edward was not good for headlines, too pale, too boring, too little glamorous. Only once did the prince put his foot in his mouth: In 2001, two cameramen from his company Ardent Productions got too close to his nephew Prince William at his place of study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Not only did this violate the rules that the palace usually demands from media companies, but it also angered William's father, Charles, Edward's brother. Shortly thereafter, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II gave up his post and with it all attempts to build a life outside the palace, and from then on placed himself entirely at the service of the crown, together with his wife Sophie.
For a good 20 years, the two have worked largely in secret. As Earl and Countess of Wessex, they often took on appointments and patronages that no one else wanted because they were too pale, too boring and not glamorous enough. Hardly anyone paid attention to the couple in the second row. In the family, however, their position became increasingly important, precisely because they did not make negative headlines, like the Edwards siblings with their failed marriages, with contacts in the criminal milieu (Prince Andrew) or embarrassing revelations in the form of television interviews and autobiographies (Prince Harry and Meghan).
Edward shows quiet reliability
Sophie of Wessex is said to have been one of the Queen's closest confidants. In addition to Princess Anne, she spent a lot of time with the monarch after her husband officially retired at Windsor Castle in August 2017. King Charles III, who is a good 15 years older than his 59-year-old brother, also appreciates the quiet reliability and diligence of Edward and Sophie. That's why, after the death of her mother, he appointed her Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh – the title Prince Philip bore for decades. The two had to wait unduly for the title of duke. Sophie, 58 years old, comes from a middle-class background herself, her father was a tire dealer, her mother a secretary. Edward and Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones have been married since 1999 and have two children: 19-year-old Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and her 15-year-old brother James, now Earl of Wessex.
As the previous Countess of Wessex, Sophie was in the aristocratic hierarchy below the Duchess of Sussex, so she had to curtsey in front of Prince Harry's wife Meghan, which allegedly annoyed her, also because the native American has caused so much damage to the royal family in such a short time.
The new Duke of Edinburgh has taken over a number of tasks from his father over the years, including The Duke of Edinburgh's (DofE) Award, founded by Prince Philip in 1956, an international youth programme that aims to encourage young people to take more personal responsibility, for example by getting involved and volunteering in schools, homes or youth groups. The motto of the program is "You can do more than you think!" and goes back to Kurt Hahn, Philip's former headmaster at Salem Castle and later in Gordonstoun, Scotland.
This was also the reason for Edward's trip to Berlin, where he first visited a school in the Wedding district on Monday together with Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) and her Berlin colleague Katharina Günther-Wünsch (CDU). He then presented DofE Awards to students in the James-Simon-Galerie on Museum Island. This Tuesday, Edward wants to visit the house of the Jewish doctor and then president of the Berlin Medical Association Alfred Alexander in Groß Glienicke in Potsdam. He had fled with his family from the Nazis to England in 1936.