Strange Things Everyone Ignores About Prince Edward

Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, is the youngest of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip's four children. Edward has led a fairly quiet and scandal-free life compared to his other siblings. He and his wife, Sophie, the Duchess of Cambridge, have supported the Crown for years and were favorites of the late queen. But they do their best to keep their personal life out of the public eye. Because of this, even royal fans may know less about Edward than other more high-profile members of the royal family.

However, that's not to say that he's a total enigma. Edward has taken on more and more responsibility over the years and is a core member of the royal family. We've gathered some of the most interesting and strange moments from his history, including rumored feuds with siblings, disagreements over royal titles, and his strained relationship with the press. There's much more to the Duke of Edinburgh than you may have realized.

Why he doesn't shake hands

When meeting the public, it's common for royals to greet some of their loyal subjects by shaking their hands. At most royal engagements, the royals will take a little time for a "walk about," where they greet onlookers and shake hands with some of the crowd. This actually started fairly recently with Queen Elizabeth II. The tradition was explained in "Queen of the World," a documentary on her reign. Harper's Bazaar quoted Princess Anne from the documentary when she explained, "We never shook hands. The theory was, you couldn't shake hands with everybody, so don't start." But, after Queen Elizabeth decided she wanted to meet the public more personally, shaking hands became more common and a bit of an expectation. Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, and other members of the royal family have followed suit in greeting the public similarly.

But, one member of the royal family still chooses not to shake hands with the public. When greeting a crowd, Prince Edward waved and spoke to people but didn't stop to shake anyone's hand. Despite his mother establishing this tradition, it seems Edward was concerned about the time it would take up. According to The Mirror, Edward and his wife, the Duchess of Edinburgh, were happy to speak to well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace. But, Edward apologized that he wouldn't be shaking anyone's hand because he wanted to speak to as many people as possible rather than stopping to shake hands.

His brother Andrew used to pick on him

Family ties, particularly between siblings, can be strained, and that remains true regardless of if you're in a typical family or part of the most famous royal family in the world, the Windsors. Prince Edward is the youngest of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip's four children. The eldest, Charles, was born in 1948, Princess Anne in 1950, Andrew in 1959, and Edward in 1963. Andrew is four years Edward's senior, and it seems the pair had a bit of a brotherly rivalry while growing up.

According to royal biographer Ingrid Seward, cited by Express, Andrew was much more boisterous than his younger brother and would often pick on the quieter Prince Edward. "Andrew bullied everybody and would constantly swipe his younger brother," Seward wrote. "If he saw Edward going for a particular cake, Andrew would try and grab it first." The boy's natures remained very different throughout the years. Edward was sweet and quiet in comparison to his brother, who would often throw tantrums. In school, Edward outperformed his older brother. He did well in sports and drama and even became the head boy. After school, Edward went to Cambridge, while Andrew went straight into the military. It seems the two always had quite different personalities and, as a result, a somewhat strained relationship.

He was in support of stripping Andrew of his title

The royal family was rocked by scandal when news broke about Prince Andrew's ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Although Andrew maintained that he'd done nothing wrong, he was accused of sexually assaulting Virginia Giuffre when she was 17 years old, and his many attempts to get the case thrown out were denied. The case was later dismissed after lawyers reached a deal requiring Andrew to donate a substantial sum to his accuser's charity.

Before the case reached its conclusion, The Crown took action to dismiss Andrew from their ranks. Buckingham Palace released a statement saying, "With The Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen." This stripped Andrew of his military and royal titles. Though the final decision came down to The Queen, Andrew's siblings held many meetings regarding his behavior and how they should handle it. According to The Daily Mail, Charles asked Anne and Edward for their opinions on how to deal with "the Andrew problem." All the siblings, including Prince Edward, were in agreement to strip Andrew of his titles. "'They were all in agreement, which took the pressure off their mother," a source told The Daily Mail.

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Some royal fans are concerned for his health

After receiving their new titles as the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie made their first public appearance on March 10, meeting with members of the Ukrainian community outside of Edinburgh's City Chambers. While many royal fans were excited to see the couple stepping into their new roles so gracefully, their appearance did raise some concerns regarding Prince Edwards's health.

Many noticed that Edward appeared to have lost a lot of weight quickly and voiced worries that the Duke may be ill. MSN News quoted a Twitter user who brought up the issue, asking, "Is the Earl of Wessex ill? He has suddenly lost so much weight." Many responded in agreement, saying that Edward appears slimmer every time they see him and worrying that he might be sick. Though another user pointed out it could be due to stress or grief, saying, "He's lost both parents in a relatively short space."

Despite concern from the public, there have been no official sources indicating that Prince Edward is unwell. The German publication Bunte claimed that Buckingham Palace had responded to them regarding these concerns. MSN quoted the German publication saying, "Everything is fine, Prince Edward is fine." However, it's worth noting that Bunte didn't provide any proof of this official update.

He almost wasn't named Duke of Edinburgh

In March 2023, King Charles granted his youngest brother Prince Edward, the title of Duke of Edinburgh for his 59th birthday. Up to that point, Edward was the Earl of Wessex. The title of Duke of Edinburgh is an especially significant gesture as it was the one held by their father, Prince Phillip, for more than 70 years.

After Phillip's passing, many assumed the title would go to his youngest son, and a source told The Daily Mail that The Queen had promised the position to Edward before her passing. But the title didn't pass on to Edward that seamlessly. According to reports, King Charles, who was responsible for naming the next Duke of Edinburgh, considered saving the coveted position to give to his granddaughter, Princess Charlotte, when she was older.

The idea of getting passed over for Princess Charlotte was very hurtful to Edward, who is quite close to his brother Charles. A source close to Edward said, "'It was a slap in the face, particularly when Edward has been such a help to Charles over the Andrew farrago." However, after some time to reflect, and perhaps after realizing how hurtful choosing Charlotte would be to Edward, Charles did elect to make his younger brother the Duke of Edinburgh. However, some sources have speculated that Charles may request to have the title returned to the Crown after Edward's death rather than passing it to Edward's son, but that remains to be seen.

His past title as the Earl of Wessex was unexpected

Prior to becoming Duke of Edinburgh on his 59th birthday, Prince Edward was the only one of the Queen's sons not to be named a duke. Prince Andrew was named Duke of York, and King Charles was the Duke of Cornwall. But, rather than being named Duke, Edward took the title of the Earl of Wessex with his wife Sophie as the Countess of Wessex. Though this may at first seem like a snub, it seems the title may have actually been Prince Edward's preference.

It's customary for members of the royal family to receive titles on their wedding day, and some royal fans were surprised when Edward was named the Earl of Wessex rather than receiving a dukedom. But, according to The Mirror, it was Edward who requested the title. He was originally offered Duke of Cambridge, a title later taken by Prince William (now known as the Prince of Wales). Apparently, Edward requested this lesser title after the character in the film "Shakespeare in Love." A source spoke to the Telegraph in 2010 and was later quoted by The Mirror saying, "Prince Edward was going to be the Duke of Cambridge, but he watched the film Shakespeare in Love... He liked the sound of [Earl of Wessex] and asked the Queen if he could have that instead." It may seem like an odd reason to pick a title, but The Queen obliged.

He didn't want to be a full-time royal

Perhaps part of the reason Prince Edward didn't fight for a dukedom earlier is because he was reluctant to take part as a high-profile member of the royal family. In fact, after their marriage in 1999, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex at the time, maintained careers outside of their royal duties. According to Express, Edward had a passion for theater, and after a stint in The Royal Marines, he pursued that passion, opening his own company, Ardent Productions. Meanwhile, Sophie worked in PR, also opening her own agency.

However, a few years later, the couple gave up their private careers in favor of aiding the Queen. In 2002 they became full-time working members of the royal family for Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee year. They've continued working for the Crown in the decades that followed, though often keeping a lower profile than other members of the royal family. Sophie centered her work around supporting programs and charities for children and women facing violence. And Edward used his royal position to continue his patronage of the arts. In recent years, they've started to take on more public-facing responsibilities. As the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, they'll play an even more significant part in royal affairs as Edward follows in his father's footsteps.

He and his wife started dating in secret

Prince Edward and Sophie, Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, have had over two decades of happy marriage. However, they were an unexpected match and initially did their best to keep their relationship a secret. According to Tatler, the pair first met in 1987 at Capitol Radio, where Sophie was working in public relations, but it wasn't until meeting again years later that they started dating. Sophie was hired to manage publicity for a charity Tennis event that Edward was organizing. The prince and 28-year-old commoner hit it off their second time meeting and began dating out of the public eye.

Despite their efforts to keep their relationship private, the press eventually learned about Sophie. In response, Edward made a statement, saying, "I am taking this unusual step of writing to you directly in the hopes of stopping your reporters and photographers from destroying that part of my life that I am entitled to regard as private and more importantly, Sophie's life."

Once the news was out, the couple was able to be more serious, with Sophie accompanying Edward to weddings and other royal events. Seeing Sophie as Edward's constant companion, some began to raise the question of why the two weren't engaged. But, they did not give to public pressure and took their courtship at their own pace, dating for six years before marriage. Edward had witnessed the failed relationships of his older siblings and didn't want to follow in their footsteps.

Royal fans thought he was rude

In his attempt to keep his personal life private, Prince Edward left a bad impression on some royal fans in his early life. When he started dating Sophie, the current Duchess of Edinburgh, the press began reporting and speculating about their relationship quite frequently. The spotlight on his relationship was exactly what Edward had hoped to avoid. In response, he gave a rare TV interview. Unfortunately, rather than calming down the press, the interview gave the public a bad impression of the royal. Express quoted royal expert Ingrid Seward speaking about the unfortunate interview. She said, "I think what he really would have loved to have done is do the whole thing really secretly, but he knew he couldn't so it [the interview] made him look a little bit pompous and arrogant."

Edward became increasingly irritated the more he was asked about proposing to Sophie. He told reporters at the time, "If you shut up and mind your own business and let me do it when I want, it's more likely to happen ... The more people second-guess, the more likely it is I just won't do it." While many can probably sympathize with his desire to keep his private life private, at the time, his strong wording was not appreciated. Many saw his attitude during the interview and in regard to the press as entitled. Fortunately, now the public seems to appreciate the Duke and Duchess more.

His strange relationship with Meghan and Harry

When Meghan Markle first married into the royal family, she and Prince Harry seemed to share a special bond with Prince Edward and Sophie. This is perhaps because, like Meghan, Sophie married into royalty and empathized with the adjustment that Meghan was going through. Sophie and Meghan also had a lot in common as both of them are passionate about charity work, particularly causes for girls' education and against violence towards women. Some believed Prince Edward and Sophie could use their relationship to bridge the gap between the new couple and other members of the royal family. However, in the end, that proved impossible

Despite how close the couples once were, it now seems that the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are filling in Harry and Meghan's shoes. According to The Irish Mirror, since Meghan and Harry rejected royal life, Sophie and Edward have become much more public-facing members of the royal family, taking on roles that may have gone to Harry and Meghan previously. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are also some of the only members of the royal family who have spoken publicly about Meghan and Harry leaving royal life. It seems Edward's own history with the press gave him a lot of empathy for Harry and Meghan's situation. "Listen, weirdly we've all been there before – we've all had excessive intrusion and attention in our lives," he told CNN. "We wish them the very best of luck."

His relationship with Charles is rumored to be strained

Although they are siblings, King Charles and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, have a large age gap of 15 years. Because of this, they did not grow up together in the way you might expect brothers to. Speaking of the less-than-brotherly bond between the pair, a source told The Daily Beast that they "barely know each other." The coldness between them was highlighted when Charles considered going against his parents' wishes to deny Edward the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

It seems that Charles may have old resentments harbored toward his younger brother and his wife, Sophie. This likely goes back to 2001 when Edward and Sophie were still maintaining personal companies instead of working full-time for the royal family. Charles and Edward had a public disagreement after Prince Edward's film company attempted to film Prince William during his first days at university. Then Sophie made the mistake of being recorded by an undercover reporter as she made casual remarks about the royal family. These public debacles angered Charles, who demanded his younger brother pick between his private career and the crown.

Along with this old grudge, Charles may be struggling with the public attention Sophie and Edward have received recently. Writer Christopher Anderson told The Daily Beast, "On a certain level, Charles must also hate the fact that Edward and Sophie have been lauded for stepping up to fill in the void left by the departure of Harry and Meghan."

He and his wife were favorites of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip

Prince Edward was a favorite with his parents. According to Express, after Prince Philip retired from royal duties, his son Edward took over most of his work. This bond with his father was also illustrated by Edward's portrait being the only one in Phillip's study.

Along with her love for their youngest son, The Queen became very close to her daughter-in-law Sophie. A palace aide told The Daily Mail that The Queen considered Sophie like a daughter and relied on her heavily later in life. "Sophie has filled a terrible gap in the Queen's life that was left when her sister and the Queen Mother died in 2002," they said.

While this close bond between the couple and his parents is quite touching, it may have only furthered resentments between Edward and King Charles. Writer Christopher Anderson told The Daily Beast, "Charles harbors varying degrees of resentment toward all three of his siblings ... for the affection and attention that was lavished on them by their parents and denied him from the very beginning."