Details About The Relationship Sophie, Duchess Of Edinburgh, Has With The Royals

If it seems as though royal relationships have been in the news for years — they have. The dynamic between the current batch of royals is as fractured as ever, and given Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's documentary, it doesn't seem things will be healing any time soon. But what about the senior royals who we see on a daily basis, working with their chosen organizations and representing the crown: Do they get along? They are family members, but they're far more than that. The royal family is just as much a group of related individuals as it is a business, and its storied history is fraught with drama, divorce, abdication, lawsuits — the works. Dealing with such tense issues within any normal family would be enough for people to instill some serious boundaries. Are the royals in this camp too?

As it happens, one of the most level-headed and drama-free royals currently on the scene is Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, formerly titled the Countess of Wessex. Married to Queen Elizabeth II's youngest child, Prince Edward, Sophie is a bit of a black sheep — once overlooked given the more high-profile royals who are closer to the throne, Sophie has proven herself to be a team player through thick and thin, and the proof is in her relationships with individual royals. Some love her, some are simply OK with having her around — but when your family makes headlines day after day given rifts and troubling lawsuits, a stable figure like Sophie is surely appreciated.

Sophie shared an incredibly close relationship with Queen Elizabeth II

The late Queen Elizabeth II was notoriously strict when it came to the royal way of life, protocol, and doing everything by the book — including keeping affection at an arm's length. However, it was well documented throughout her life that the queen had rather a soft spot for Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and the two became very close over the years. As noted by E! News, the queen's first indication that Sophie was in her good graces came before Sophie and Edward got married — unlike any other royal, Elizabeth allowed Sophie to stay on the grounds of Buckingham Palace before she and Edward tied the knot: a big no-no for everyone else.

As time went on, the queen and Sophie developed a strong bond, namely due to their respect for one another and their ability to talk about life outside of the royal family. "If Sophie wasn't there, the queen would only have a lady-in-waiting for those feminine chats she likes," a royal aide explained to royal biographer Ingrid Seward. "The Princess Royal [Anne] is very close to her mother, but is hardly ever there, while Sophie is around a lot."

Further telling author Sally Bedell Smith that Sophie not only appreciated the queen, "but she also understands that she is a human being, and treats her that way," the monarch's cousin even had glowing words for the countess.

Sophie had a strong influence on Eugenie and Beatrice

You don't have to be a royal watcher to know that the members of the royal family have quite the affinity for horses. The late Prince Philip was a celebrated polo player before turning his attention to carriage driving, and he even passed the passion on to his granddaughter and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh's daughter Lady Louise. But Sophie is not nearly as passionate about horses as other members of the family, and in a way, she helped pave the way for other royals to take up areas of passion and interest that extended past the stables.

As noted by Hello! Magazine, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice are firmly in the "not interested in horses" camp. Instead of taking up equestrian activities, the daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson looked to their aunt for inspiration, and eventually followed in her footsteps of skiing. It's been well-documented that Sophie is an avid skier, even working at a ski resort in her younger years. As such, Beatrice and Eugenie took up the sport just as Sophie has done, transferring their royal interest away from the stables and toward the slopes.

To this day, Sophie is regularly seen hitting the slopes, and Beatrice and Eugenie went on a joint ski trip with their mom in January 2022. Sometimes, aunts really are the best kind of influence.

Sophie and Camilla, meanwhile, keep things formal

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, may have had a very close relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, but such affection hasn't reportedly transferred over to Camilla, Queen Consort. As body language expert Judi James assessed for Express, the two women share a cordial formality, but aren't what you would call besties — which is totally OK; none of us get along with all our family members swimmingly.

"Despite being sisters-in-law there are few, if any, body language moments between Sophie and Camilla that would suggest anything warmer than a polite and even rather formal relationship," James told Express, noting that their body language did not mimic each other's in a way that two close individuals' would. "There is no mirroring between them to hint at natural empathy or like-minded thinking," she explained.

Saying that they are both practical workers who are dedicated to the crown, James assessed that Sophie and Camilla are "almost polar opposites," but do what needs to be done to support the monarchy. "I'm sure it would be a case of 'whatever it takes' in terms of displays of unity and continuity right now, so a more active display of shared smiles and chats should be well within their repertoire," she said.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Sophie are said to be close

Though Camilla, Queen Consort, and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, have a professional relationship that is courteous but distant, Sophie and Catherine, Princess of Wales, are very close. As noted by Hello! Magazine, the two royals have been seen on many occasions sharing genuine laughs, warm interactions, and have joined each other at some of the Royal family's favorite outings.

Let's go all the way back to 2012. Just one year after joining the royal family, Catherine played quite a big role in the Olympics, as they were held right in the city of London. As such, she was spotted at a number of the sporting events, and Sophie was by her side throughout. The two were seen in the stands watching the Paralympic rowing competition and sharing a laugh together.

2016 marked Wimbledon, famously one of Catherine's favorite events, and she and Sophie joined ranks once again to watch the famous tennis event take place. A year later, the two women burst into giggles after Sophie took a tumble while getting into a carriage for the Royal Ascot, nearly falling on the Princess of Wales while doing so. Clearly, these two royals share a sense of humor and a dedication to the crown.

Sophie is seen as a reliable royal by King Charles III

No matter what side of the royal feud you fall on, everyone can agree that the last few years for the royal family have been anything but easy. King Charles III assumed the crown immediately following his mother's passing, Prince William and Prince Harry are at each other's throats, and Prince Andrew — well, you all know what happened there. As such, the new king has identified Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, as a reliable member of the firm who is nothing if not a dedicated team player — certainly a welcome figure given the general chaos of the last couple of years. Talking to Express, Royal historian Marlene Koenig noted that Sophie is "understood to be well-liked by Charles," and he does not "have to worry" about her in the slightest.

"We don't know what goes on behind the scenes, but I suspect that she is highly regarded within the family," Koenig said. "There are no scandals. She is happy to pick up new patronages and go out and fly the flag for the UK. I suspect Charles likes her, again, because she is down to Earth, and she is dependable."

Given that Charles is the king, and a bit of a fussy one at that, Sophie's "roll up your sleeve and work" attitude certainly seems popular.

Prince William is a fan of Sophie

Though Prince William maintains a cool, calm, and collected public persona, these days royal insiders are seeing a bit more of his hot-headedness. The scene in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Netflix documentary, "Harry and Meghan," that shows Harry receiving a text message from his brother has left a lot of fans curious as to the extent of the rift between them. Clearly, William and Harry can both take and pack a punch. 

Meanwhile, however, William is said to get along quite well with Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and spends quite a lot of time with her and his uncle, Prince Edward, behind closed doors. As noted by Express, the Waleses and the Wessexes often join each other for company during their off hours — it makes sense, as both couples are senior royals, all four of them are parents — on paper, they have a lot in common. Commenting on William's relationships within the royal family, royal editor Rebecca English estimated, "He is ... a great champion of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, his uncle Prince Edward and his dependable wife, Sophie. The two families spend a lot of time together privately."

Yet an additional source noted Sophie's presence within the family and the firm at large, labeling her as "soothing." Given the added tension that is seemingly getting more and more fraught between the royal brothers, Sophie's level-headedness must surely be appreciated.

There is a bit of distance between Sophie and Princess Anne

If we've established anything about Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, so far it's that she's dedicated, calm, and ready to represent the crown to the best of her ability. That sounds quite a lot like Princess Anne, too. Often labeled the hardest working royal, Anne represents the monarchy at more events than any other member of the firm — naturally, you'd think that Anne and Sophie would be thick as thieves. It isn't necessarily so.

As body language expert Judi James broke down for Express, there is a coolness between Sophie and Anne, perhaps due to their incredibly different personalities. While both are hard working royals, Anne has a notorious coolness about her, whereas Sophie's bubbly persona has been seen in public on a number of occasions. As such, these two ladies may not consider themselves best gal pals.

"Their body language together hints at differences that appear to move both women into rather contrasting states when they are together," James explained. "[During one outing] Sophie's upright body language appears to become more girlish and keen to please with Anne, who herself appears to settle back into her seat to stare at the crowds. While Sophie wears a tooth-bearing, polite royal smile Anne merely raises her brows and keeps her lips closed ... This naughty schoolkid body language seems to have brought out a far more prim response from Anne."

Sophie had an awkward comment for Meghan and Harry

It was the interview seen around the world. In their first attempt to get their side of the story across, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey and recounted their experience within the royal family. Notably discussing mental health, Meghan's suicidal thoughts, discussions about Archie's skin tone, and more disturbing details, the interview certainly put the royal family on defense. Royals such as King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, completely evaded questions about the interview in its aftermath, and Prince William coolly replied to a reporter when asked if the royal family was "racist" with a simple "no." Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, meanwhile, had a bit of a different approach when asked about the infamous interview.

As noted by The Sun, Sophie's first line of defense was to play dumb — she told The Telegraph's royal editor, Camilla Tominey, that she wasn't even aware of the interview taking place — a bit of a head-turner given that the interview was plastered across international headlines. On a separate occasion when asked about the interview alongside her husband, Prince Edward teased, "Oprah who?" to which Sophie said, "Yes, what interview?" When asked about the structures within the royal family — and the processes of welcoming a new spouse into the fold — Sophie simply said, "We all try to help any new members of the family."

Sophie and Meghan Markle didn't see eye to eye on this element of royal life

When Meghan Markle first came onto the royal scene, she was seen as a catalyst of change — she and Prince Harry represented a new era of the royal family, not only given their status as young working royals, but due to Meghan's identity. She was American, mixed race, divorced, educated, and a working woman with an impressive career. Nevertheless, Queen Elizabeth II reportedly thought that she could use a mentor within the royal family to help her navigate the waters, according to broadcaster Gyles Brandreth and his book, "Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait."

As detailed by Express, Meghan was said to have found royal life "challenging to begin with," and as such, the queen presented Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, as a possible mentor to take Meghan through the "married into the family" process.

"To help Meghan, the Queen suggested that her daughter-in-law, Sophie Wessex, would be an ideal mentor. 'Sophie can help show you the ropes,' said the queen," Brandreth detailed in his book. "Meghan made it clear that she did not feel she needed Sophie's help. She had Harry," he continued, noting that the storied monarch "was a little concerned at that."

Sophie shared a rare closeness with Prince Philip

Of all the members of the royal family who maintained the stiff upper lip mentality, the late Prince Philip was certainly the most dedicated to the cause. Often said to care quite a lot about the future of the monarchy, its stability, and the ways in which Queen Elizabeth II was represented by other members of the firm, Philip was possibly the most committed to the crown aside from the queen herself. As such, it makes sense that he and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, bonded on a deep level. Not only was (and is) Sophie seen as a dependable member of the family who is level-headed and dedicated to life as a senior royal, but she doesn't seem to ruffle feathers. Philip was much like that, and the two shared a rare closeness.

Amid the BBC documentary, "Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers," Sophie recounted the relationship she shared with her father-in-law, reminiscing about the shared experiences they had together. Not only was Philip particularly close with Sophie's daughter, Lady Louise — as they shared a love of carriage driving — but he and the Duchess of Edinburgh personally shared a love of cooking.

"Cooking is something that I love talking to him about," she said, as noted by Express. "And he loves watching cookery programs. 'Hairy Bikers' I think is one of his favorites."

Sophie and her husband, Prince Edward, have a marriage unlike other royals

We certainly can't talk about Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and the relationships she shares with other members of the royal family without mentioning her dynamic with husband Prince Edward. Not only are these two a dedicated couple, raising their two children largely out of the public eye, but they're a bit of an anomaly in the royal family. Of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's four children, Edward is the only one to not have gotten divorced. Eldest child King Charles III, of course, divorced Diana Spencer. Princess Anne split from her first husband, Mark Phillips, around the same time and Prince Andrew divorced Sarah Ferguson shortly thereafter. The 1990s were relatively unkind to the royal children and their marriages, making Edward and Sophie a rarity among them.

As detailed by Tatler, Edward and Sophie met when they were 23 and 22 years old respectively, though they didn't start dating until a few years later. Royal biographer Ingrid Seward further noted that Edward was nervous when things started getting serious, but realized that he didn't want to follow in the same treacherous footsteps as his three older siblings.

On June 19, 1999, Edward and Sophie tied the knot after six years of dating. Their wedding was relatively small for that of a member of the royal family, with about 500 guests witnessing the nuptials at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor.