Sophie Wessex becomes the Duchess of Edinburgh

the countess of wessex duchess of edinburgh
Sophie Wessex becomes Duchess of Edinburgh Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

The former Countess of Wessex has become the new Duchess of Edinburgh.

Sophie Wessex (as she was known under her previous title) has become the Duchess of Edinburgh, now that her husband has been given the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

Sophie married Prince Edward in 1999 and the pair were formerly the Earl and Countess of Wessex. In honour of Prince Edward's 59th birthday, The King has officially made him the new Duke of Edinburgh.

london, england october 01 prince edward, earl of wessex and sophie, countess of wessex during their visit to vauxhall city farm on october 01, 2020 in london, england their royal highnesses will see the farms community engagement and education programmes in action, as the farm marks the start of black history month photo by chris jackson wpa poolgetty images
Chris Jackson

Prince Edward is The King's youngest brother, and this title is particularly poignant as it was held by their late father, Prince Philip.

This change also means that Prince Edward's previous title will now pass down to his 15-year-old son, James, Viscount Severn, who becomes the new Earl of Wessex.

portsmouth, england september 20 prince edward, earl of wessex, sophie, countess of wessex, james, viscount severn and lady louise windsor take part in the great british beach clean on southsea beach on september 20, 2020 in portsmouth, england photo by poolsamir husseinwireimage
Pool/Samir Hussein

According to The Telegraph, it was Prince Philip's wish that his title be passed to his youngest son, Prince Edward.

It was reported that Prince Philip approached Prince Edward and Sophie in the days following their engagement, and asked if his son would take on the title one day in the future.

“We sat there slightly stunned,” Sophie recalled in a 2021 interview. “He literally came straight in and said: 'Right. I’d like it very much if you would consider that.'”

edinburgh, united kingdom september 19 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 48 hours after create date and time sophie, countess of wessex, prince philip, duke of edinburgh wearing the regimental tie of the rifles and prince edward, earl of wessex pose for a photograph before the countess leaves the palace of holyroodhouse on day one of her diamond challenge cycle ride on september 19, 2016 in edinburgh, scotland the countess of wessex is cycling 445 miles from the palace of holyroodhouse, edinburgh to buckingham palace, london over seven days as her diamond challenge, a special initiative marking the 60th anniversary of the duke of edinburghs award photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
Max Mumby/Indigo

Prince Edward had added that it was “a bittersweet role to take on because the only way the title can come to me is after both my parents have actually passed away."

Prince Philip, the former Duke of Edinburgh passed away in April 2021, followed by The Queen in September 2022. The King's official coronation as the new monarch will take place this May.

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