In 18 trying and torrid months for the British monarchy, no member of the Royal Family has seen their reputation rise more than Prince Edward and his wife.
Sophie Wessex provided the humanity that the public sought in the immediate aftermath of Prince Philip’s death, reassuring us within hours of his death, with tears in our eyes, that the ‘Queen is amazing’.
In the days that followed, it became clear to the world how close Edward and Sophie were to His Majesty.
And what’s even more wonderful is that they don’t feel the need to scream about it to advance their own PR for years, understanding their role tends to be in the background.
To underscore how important it is to get the king through one of the most difficult periods of his life, the affection was shown again earlier this month at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Queen beamed as Edward and Sophie’s daughter, Lady Louise, her youngest granddaughter, competed in the carriage that once belonged to her husband.
DAN WOOTTON: Sources close to Charles have told him he doesn’t plan to pass the title of Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip to his youngest brother as he has always promised.
Rock-solid and unflinching, the Wessexes are finally getting their long-awaited moment in the royal spotlight.
So were the family and pushed to the sidelines, the public had realized how much Edward and Sophie had to offer.
DAN WOOTTON (pictured): Solid as rock and simple, the Wessexes finally get their long-awaited moment in the royal spotlight
Especially compared to the ongoing nightmare of Prince Andrew and Fergie – likely exiled forever for his scandalous dealings with disgraced pedophile Jeffrey Epstein – or the California egomaniacs Prince Harry and Meghan now seemingly determined to inflict maximum damage on the monarchy.
But it seems Prince Charles – isolated in deep sorrow, thinking hard about the future of the Royal Family and shaken by opinion polls showing the British public is desperate for his wife Camilla to become Queen – isn’t enjoying this modest emergence of new royal powers very much.
Intending to pursue his plans for a streamlined monarchy seriously following the Queen’s death, sources close to Charles have informed that he has no plans to pass the title of Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip to his youngest brother, as he has always promised.
To describe such a move as a crushing and cruel blow to Edward would be an understatement.
But over the weekend the story came out publicly for the first time, with a source close to Prince Charles quoted in The Sunday Times as saying: ‘The Prince is the Duke of Edinburgh as he is, and it’s up to him what happens to the title. It won’t get to Edward.’
Earl of Wessex, Duke of Edinburgh and Countess of Wessex at the Duke of Edinburgh Award garden party, at Buckingham Palace
Oof. The battle line is drawn.
Such a move would see Charles violate his father’s wishes for Edward to keep the Dukedom and continue the brilliant work of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme that he is hoping to take over as patron.
And a breach of a public promise given in writing on Edward’s wedding day when a statement read: ‘The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales have also agreed that Prince Edward should be granted the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the title now held by Prince Philip finally returns. to the Crown.’
Sophie revealed last month that Philip personally made the request after their engagement, saying: ‘We sat there a bit shocked.’
Given that it was against her husband’s firm wishes, I suspect the Queen would also not be pleased with such a blatant detour and, while she respects that Charles should reshape the monarchy after his death, he should be listened to.
Charles didn’t really like Edward and Sophie. They haven’t had a natural bond since two seismic falls 20 years ago.
First, Edward had to issue a condescending apology and abandon his TV career after it was discovered that his production company was recording a young Prince William.
That same year, Sophie is caught in the sting of the News of the World by the infamous ‘Fake Sheik’, which makes her unwittingly doubt whether Charles and Camilla can get married.
He said: ‘It’s a very difficult situation. On the one hand there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be accepted because he’s divorced and he’s divorced, but then again you have the issue of the king as head of the Church. I think it’s difficult, especially when Queen Elizabeth is alive, Queen Mother.’
Prince Charles and his five-year-old brother, Prince Edward at Sandringham House, Norfolk, in 1969
Both incidents culminate when Edward and Sophie quit their private business to focus on a life of royal duty.
The Queen had long since moved on – she was undoubtedly proud that Edward was the only child not to ask for a divorce – and Charles should be the same.
Refusing the Duke of Edinburgh Edward title which he had been waiting to inherit since before his marriage felt too brutal and to me reeks of cutting noses to hate your face.
Edward and Sophie represent the type of hardworking and loyal empire that is currently in short supply.
You know; the type to come to the opening of a community center on a rainy Saturday morning without much fuss.
Their marriage is solid. Their family is strong. Their work ethic is undeniable.
So why not embrace the assets, instead of heaping more pressure on Camilla, Prince William and Kate whose workload is already quite large?
Remember, outside of the Queen, only seven core royals are now working full time: Charles, Camilla, Anne, Edward, Sophie, William, and Kate.
Charles also had to consider his father’s legacy.
If Edward was not made Duke of Edinburgh and Charles remained king, the title would essentially disappear from public life.
Prince Philip deserves more than that after seven decades of faithful royal duties.
Unless, as Daily Mail’s Richard Kay reports today, Charles is considering giving the title to William’s youngest son, Prince Louis.
The decision would further strengthen the power of the future monarchy between Charles and William.
But there’s no reason to significantly alienate Edward and Sophie, given the dearth of royalty available to receive the growing engagement and patronage that remains after Philip’s retirement, Andrew’s sacking, and Harry and Meghan’s transatlantic strop.
Edward deserves to be the Duke of Edinburgh, continuing his father’s good work and providing the public with royal morals that we can all be proud of.
Prince Charles must put aside his personal doubts and do the right thing.