Inside Prince Edward's Relationship With Prince Harry And Meghan Markle

Prince Edward is the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. He and his wife, Sophie Wessex, were tapped by Queen Elizabeth to fill in as mentors to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when the latter joined the royal family, and it turns out that was for good reason — the foursome have a lot in common.

When Harry and Meghan showed up at their last royal engagement as senior royals in March 2020, they spent most of their time with Edward and his wife. As Express reported following the day's Commonwealth Service, Harry and Meghan were photographed laughing with Edward and Sophie and all four clearly felt very comfortable with one another (which is more than we can say for how it went with the Prince and Princess of Wales).

Here is a look at the unique relationship Prince Edward has with Harry and Meghan, and how his wife Sophie Wessex fits in.

Prince Edward and his wife were mentors to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Queen Elizabeth II was notoriously close to her daughter-in-law, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, who married Prince Edward on June 19, 1999. As Showbiz Cheatsheet has noted, Elizabeth was a stickler for the rules, which is a trait she and Sophie shared. This might have been why Elizabeth asked Sophie to be a kind of royal mentor to Meghan Markle as her relationship with Prince Harry developed.

As royal author Katie Nicholl told Express, "According to sources, the Queen has earmarked Sophie as a royal mentor for Meghan. The two spent time together at Royal Ascot last year and are understood to get along well." Nicholl went on to add that Meghan and Sophie also have common backgrounds, as Sophie gave up her own successful career to join the royal family, much as Meghan had to leave acting behind. The outlet also noted that Sophie and Meghan were often seen seated together at royal events.

That kind of closeness undoubtedly rubbed off on Harry's own relationship with his uncle, Prince Edward. Nicholl explained to Express that both couples lived in Windsor, and that Sophie and Edward had a lifestyle that Meghan and Harry similarly wanted to adopt for themselves and their children.

Prince Edward was sympathetic to Prince Harry following the Oprah interview

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 and surprised many people, including the royal family, with the information and stories that they shared. While many members of the family declined to comment on the interview, Prince Edward surprisingly got quite candid about how he felt about it while chatting with CNN.

Edward appeared very sympathetic to Harry and Meghan's claims, even offering up that each member of the royal family has had to wrestle with similar dilemmas in different ways depending on their own situations and responsibilities. As he put it, "Listen, weirdly we've all been there before — we've all had excessive intrusion and attention in our lives. And we've all dealt with it in slightly different ways, and listen, we wish them the very best of luck. It's a really hard decision."

Prince Edward has taken on Prince Harry's responsibilities

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step back from senior royal duties in January 2020 resulted in the rest of the family divvying up the pair's tasks, responsibilities, and even patronages among themselves. Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, found themselves in the position of taking on more and more of Harry and Meghan's responsibilities and even showing up as representatives of the royal family more frequently than they had in years past, according to Express.

In October 2022, Hello! Magazine reported that one such move came when Sophie became the first member of the royal family to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Edward has similarly doubled down on his royal work and has devoted his time to the Wessex Youth Trust, which he and his wife founded ahead of their marriage in 1999 (via Express). He's also been nurturing the Duke of Edinburgh awards since his father passed away in April 2021 (via The Guardian).

Prince Edward shares interests with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Another reason that Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex get along so well with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might just be that the foursome all share somewhat similar backgrounds. Like Meghan, Sophie had to give up her job when she married into the royal family. Sophie also had a bit of a rough time at the beginning of her time with the royal family, though her problems were different from the ones that Meghan faced (per Express).

Back in 2001, Sophie was recorded by News of the World giving several candid comments about members of the royal family. The outlet ended up publishing a whopping 10 pages full of everything that Sophie divulged in the so-called "Sophie Tapes." As noted by The Guardian, Sophie was captured speaking freely to undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood about her personal political views — a big no-no for members of the royal family — and her thoughts on Prime Minister John Major. Sophie, who believed that Mahmood was a sheik, told the reporter that there were benefits to hiring her PR company. She said, "For instance, in your own country when people find we're working for you, the chances are you'll get people interested: Oh gosh, they've employed the Countess of Wessex's PR company."

As Express also noted, Meghan also encountered a lot of negativity in the British press, particularly as it related to her hopes to establish privacy for herself and her family with Prince Harry.

Prince Edward has tried to stay out of Prince Harry's feud with the royal family

Princse Harry and William have been battling it out in a years-long feud,  and most of the royal family appears to be interested in staying out of the emotional tango the brothers are dancing. In an interview with the BBC, Prince Edward revealed that he definitely makes all attempts to avoid getting caught up in the middle of the brothers, and he also avoids weighing in on the ongoing tension between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the senior members of the royal family.

As Edward told the outlet, "I stay way out of it — it's much the safest place to be!" Edward separately spoke about the rift between the pair and the rest of the family in an interview with CNN's Max Foster. After having a laugh at Foster's phrasing of the inquiry, Edward added, "It's just ... families are families, aren't they?" He continued, saying, "It's difficult for everyone. But that's families for you."