Duchess Sophie and Prince Edward’s secret to their successful 25 year marriage lies in ‘pretty unusual’ choice early on

 Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attend day two of Royal Ascot 2024 at Ascot Racecourse.
Credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Duchess Sophie and Prince Edward’s secret to their successful 25 year marriage lies in a "pretty unusual" choice early on, according to a former royal correspondent.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on the 19th June and stepped out together for Royal Ascot alongside many other royals. Ahead of this appearance the couple appeared in several special new snaps taken at their Bagshot Park home by photographer Chris Jelf in honour of the occasion. Wrapped in a warm embrace and beaming at each other, they looked happier than ever after 25 years of marriage and according to the BBC’s former royal correspondent Jennie Bond, this could all be down to a key decision.

Speaking to OK!, Jennie expressed her belief that "part" of their successful marriage could be down to Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie being together for many years before they actually got engaged in January 1999.

Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attend day 2 of the 2024 Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park
Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attend day 2 of the 2024 Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park

"Perhaps part of the secret of their successful marriage is that they spent five years in a relationship before tying the knot. And that was pretty unusual at the time," Jennie explained. "Sophie had seen at first hand the trauma of the Diana years, the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, the Yorks’ divorce and Anne’s divorce and second marriage."

The royal commentator put forward the idea that it was "probably quite courageous" for Duchess Sophie to "become another royal bride", knowing that Prince Edward's siblings' first marriages had ended in divorce.

"But, by the time they got married, both Edward and Sophie were mature enough to know that they were right for one another," she added.

Spending five years in a relationship, getting to know each other inside out is something that Jennie thinks could have helped cement a strong foundation for Prince Edward and Sophie’s loving 25-year marriage.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie beaming as they announce their engagement in 1999
Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie beaming as they announce their engagement in 1999

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This decision early on could have paved the way for them and Queen Elizabeth reportedly also granted the Duchess the rare privilege of being permitted to use the royal apartments at Buckingham Palace before she and Prince Edward were engaged. In contrast to the Edinburghs, Princess Diana moved into Clarence House after she and King Charles got engaged, which is said to have happened less than a year after they started dating.

Despite Jennie claiming Duchess Sophie and Prince Edward dating for five years was "pretty unusual" at the time, it seems to have worked for them and likely also gave her vital insight into what it’s like in the royal spotlight.

"Understated, unshowy and as down-to-earth as you can be when you are born into the royal family. That’s how Edward and Sophie are today… and it’s how they were 25 years ago on their relatively understated wedding day at Windsor," Jennie said.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie on their wedding day leaving St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie on their wedding day leaving St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

The expert added, "Sophie is a natural, humble woman - clearly still very much in love with her husband - and a woman who has grown into her role without fuss or fanfare."

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are senior working members of the Royal Family and have been seen stepping up even more in recent months to support King Charles. When they attend engagements or events together they always look so joyful and Duchess Sophie spoke glowingly of her husband in a speech ahead of his 60th birthday earlier this year.

"He has been my guide and shown me the way over the years. He has given me much help and advice (not always taken I admit), and his knowledge and instincts that have been honed over decades of service are invaluable," she said, before describing him as the "best of fathers, the most loving of husbands and still [her] best friend".