Buckingham Palace aides are impressed by Sophie Wessex’s “down to earth” personality as she moves into an increasingly significant role within the royal family. The Queen’s daughter-in-law was informally promoted this week to fill the royal space left by Harry and Meghan’s departure. On Wednesday the Countess of Wessex joined fellow members of the Bagshot Women’s Institute for a catch-up at the Half Moon pub in Surrey, which re-opened at the weekend.
Speaking on ITV’s Royal Rota, Royal Editor Chris Ship noted that this was the first time in his job that Buckingham Palace had invited royal correspondents to cover an event with Sophie Wessex on her own.
He said that this marked a dramatic change in the royal spotlight, as Sophie Wessex moves to fill the void left by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Ship said: “We don’t often cover the Countess of Wessex’s engagements on her own.
“It’s the only time I’ve covered Sophie on her own in the three years I’ve had this job.”
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He continued: “We were invited to cover this event by Buckingham Palace.
“Are we to presume then that Buckingham Palace think Sophie’s profile is worth raising now?
ITV royal producer Lizzie Robinson responded: “There is a space left by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as working members of the royal family.
“The Countess of Wessex has done a lot of very good work with the charities and organisations she supports.
Sophie, who is married to the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward, has had an increasingly prominent role in royal duties since Harry and Meghan’s departure earlier this year.
The Countess’ meeting with Women’s Institute also shows her ties with the Queen, who herself has close links with the WI which go back throughout her 68-year reign.
Photos of Sophie at the pub meeting were tweeted by the Queen’s official Royal Family Twitter account, a sign that Her Majesty backed the engagement.
The 94-year-old monarch is at high risk from coronavirus because of her age and will have to be extremely cautious if and when she returns to public engagements.