Sophie Countess of Wessex, 54, joined the Royal Family when she married Prince Edward, 55, in a fairytale wedding in 1999. Since her marriage began, Sophie has largely stayed out of the public eye, making discrete appearances with the Queen and also supporting charities on her own. Occasionally, Sophie has graced a magazine cover – appearing on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 2015. Most of Sophie’s time has been taken up raising her children, Louise, 15, and James, 11.
Both of the children do have a title – but they are not a princess or prince, as some of their cousins are.
Louise is styled as Lady Louise Windsor, while James is Viscount Severn.
This is because their parents chose to forgo being Prince and Princess themselves.
Prince Edward took on the title of Earl of Wessex after he married Sophie, reportedly by request.
This meant Sophie was given the title based on being the wife of a Earl rather than of a Prince, and she was named the Countess of Wessex.
At the time of their wedding, Buckingham Palace released a statement to say any children they had would be titled as the children of an Earl rather than as the grandchildren of the monarch.
Since she is not a Princess, how should the public address Sophie if they meet her?
The Royal Family website states: “There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.
“For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.”
But what title should you use to address Sophie?
“For other female members of the Royal Family the first address is conventionally ‘Your Royal Highness’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am’,” the official royal website states.
This means it is not required to use the royal’s official titles to address them.
For example, you would not need to call Kate Middleton “Duchess” and do not need to called Sophie “Countess”.
Of course, it is not a rule that you must call a royal anything, you may choose not to refer to them using a special title.