Born Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones in Oxford, England, Duchess Sophie grew up in a middle-class household before marrying into the royal family in 1999. Though she was born a commoner, Sophie is descended from King Henry IV.
After graduating from West Kent College, Sophie pursued a career in public relations, working at London’s Capital Radio before starting her own firm, RJH Public Relations.
While working at Capital Radio in 1987, Sophie met Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II. Edward was in a relationship at the time, but when he reconnected with Sophie in 1993, they were both single — and they decided to pursue a romance.
The duo got engaged in 1998 during a vacation to the Bahamas and tied the knot in 1999 in a ceremony held in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. After her marriage, Sophie was given the title Countess of Wessex, and the couple moved into their home at Bagshot Park in Surrey.
In 2001, Sophie suffered a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and was airlifted to a London hospital. She and Edward welcomed daughter Lady Louise in November 2003 and son James, Viscount Severn in 2007.
Several months after the queen’s September 2022 death, King Charles III created his brother Edward the Duke of Edinburgh. Sophie, in turn, became the Duchess of Edinburgh, while James took his father’s former title of Earl of Wessex.