HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex
HRH Edward Antony Richard Louis Mountbatten-Windsor, Earl Of Wessex, Earl of Severn and future Duke Of Edinburgh
Born: 10 March 1964
Christened: 2 May 1964
Engagement 1: 6 January 1999 to Miss Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones
Miss Sophie Helen Rhy-Jones
Born: 20 January 1965 to The Honorable Christopher and Mary Rhys-Jones
Marriage: 19 June 1999 to at St. Georges Chapel, Windsor
Prince Edward met Sophie Rhys-Jones when she competed in the Prince Edward Summer Challenge, at the Queen's Tennis Club in London in 1993, which raised money for charity. A few weeks after the Challenge, Edward called Sophie up and asked her out. Their courtship lasted 7 years with everyone wondering when they would finally get engaged!
The weeks following their January engagement announcement were difficult ones for Sophie. Photographers followed her everywhere. "I...make sure I don't look a complete mess when I walk out the door," she told the BBC. The couple were reportedly criticized for including wildly expensive items such as a $14,000 silver teapot, $8,000 worth of video equipment on their wedding gift wish-list. Then, just three weeks before the wedding, The Sun tabloid published a 1988 photo, sold to them by an erstwhile pal of Sophie's, of English deejay Chris Tarrant playfully lifting up her bikini top. After the Palace called the move "premeditated cruelty," the paper apologized and agreed to donate proceeds from the photo's syndication to Sophie's favorite charities.
Prince Edward and Sophie married in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was very much a family affair, with mostly their celebrity friend and members of their families in attendance. At the reception, Prince William taught everyone how to line dance, the Queen joined Prince Andrew's daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, in boogeying to the Village People's Y.M.C.A, and the Queen Mum threw her walking sticks aside to do the twist.
To this day, people that know them, and the press say that this is a union that will last a lifetime, since the couple respect one another and love one another deeply.