For years now, we’ve heard that the Countess of Wessex is “like another daughter” to Queen Elizabeth II. I remember writing up stories about Sophie’s closeness to the Queen years ago, and the stories have probably been around even longer than that. Sophie had a rocky start when she first married Prince Edward, but she stuck around and ended up developing a close and genuine bond with the Queen. So why are we hearing about it again? I don’t know. I think it’s a little bit of everything – royal courtiers are eager to change the subject away from Prince Andrew, plus there’s some shade to the duchesses too – Camilla, Kate and Meghan don’t share the kind of warm relationship with the Queen that Sophie has. Here are some highlights from this story from The Sun:
Sophie always gets to ride to church with the Queen: Nine times out of 10, the footmen and pages on the weekend roster know exactly who will be in prime position in the cream leather comfort of the Rolls back seat at Sandringham- Sophie Wessex. “If Sophie Wessex is staying at Sandringham then you can pretty much guarantee the Queen will ask her – usually last thing on a Saturday night – if she would like ‘a lift’ to the church,” reveals a former royal equerry. “And the same happens at Balmoral. The Queen likes to be completely calm before church and she finds Sophie’s presence soothing. Who gets the backseat is also one of those quirky royal ways that signals who is in favour – for example Princess Anne may be staying at the same time, but how often do you see her in the Rolls?”
The favorite daughter-in-law: The car-sharing rigmarole – when the journey starts with Sophie helping to smooth a Tartan blanket over the Queen’s lap – is indeed a subtle pointer to the place that Sophie, 54, now occupies as the monarch’s favourite daughter-in-law. “She is trusted and relied on by the Queen in a way I couldn’t say applied to the Duchess of Cambridge or the Duchess of Cornwall,” says a senior royal aide. “She is like another daughter to Her Majesty, they are that close. The Queen is also mindful that Sophie’s marriage has survived where her other children’s relationships have failed – and she knows that is in no small way down to Sophie’s dedication – she is aware, as his Edward’s mother, what a tricky creature he can be. And not only has Sophie flourished as a dedicated, albeit still relatively junior member of the Royal family, she has brought up two teenagers who are well-balanced, sporty, amusing and delightful.”
Sophie worked hard at learning about royal pursuits: “In her early days of marriage Sophie set herself a series of tasks – she’s quite driven and focused like that – of learning how to ride properly, how to fish, how to shoot game and, more recently carriage driving,” observes one friend who knew her before, and after her royal marriage. “She was not a natural rider – she’s had lots of lessons from the grooms at Windsor – but she’s certainly assured enough to accompany the Queen in gentle hacks around the Balmoral estate or Windsor Great Park.
There’s more in that article about how Sophie loves history, and especially loves military history. I remember that from previous stories too – Sophie often gets sent around Europe to mark World War I or WWII memorial occasions, and when she returns, she’ll sit with the Queen and they’ll talk about the memorial and what battle was being honored and what was done in that war. I think Sophie just has a good sense of history and the Queen loves that about her. Plus, Sophie just doesn’t have the same kind of nature as her blood children – Sophie is largely self-made, goal-oriented, driven, intelligent and she’s lived and worked in the real world. Plus, she does seem very calm and collected. Anne seems the same way – I wonder what Anne thinks about all of this. In some ways, though, I could see Anne and Sophie treating each other like sisters too though. As for “She is trusted and relied on by the Queen in a way I couldn’t say applied to the Duchess of Cambridge or the Duchess of Cornwall…” Well, yeah.