Everything you need to know about Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh and King Charles’ brother
Prince Edward is the youngest son of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and the youngest sibling of King Charles III.
Born Edward Antony Richard Louis on 10 March 1964, he has recently conferred the title of the Duke of Edinburgh, which was previously held by his late father. He is currently 13th in line for the throne, behind his brothers, nephews and nieces.
Edward is a working member of the royal family. He has been married to Sophie Rhys-Jones, the Duchess of Edinburgh, since 1999 and together they have two children, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James Mountbatten-Windsor, Earl of Wessex.
The royal does not usually hold a prominent position when performing public duties but has always been credited as hard-working and dedicated to the monarchy. He continues the work that his father began with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which aims to help young people develop key life skills and build their confidence.
As a teenager, Edward attended the same school as Charles to earn his A-Levels at Gordonstoun in Scotland. He later spent some time teaching at the Whanganui Collegiate School in New Zealand and graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.
He has a vested interest in television and theatre production, as he worked as an assistant at the Really Useful Theatre Company. He was involved in amateur productions of musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express and Cats, before forming his own company, Ardent Productions. But Edward was largely criticised for setting up the company, given he had no formal qualifications as a TV producer, director or researcher.
Ardent Productions released a documentary for ITV about Edward’s great-uncle Edward VIII, who famously abdicated from the throne in 1938. Guardian journalist Andy Beckett wrote that the prince adopted some bizarre habits while making the documentary, including “calling himself Edward Windsor on his Ardent business cards” and “signing documents and letters with a copy of the Duke of Windsor’s signature”.
Edward stepped down from his company in 2002 in order to begin full-time duties as a working member of the royal family. The prince said at the time: “It is quite obvious that in this year, the golden jubilee, we are required more than ever to support the Queen and to help my family shoulder some of the increasing responsibilities and workload into the future.”
His love for entertainment and theatres continues to be reflected in his work. Among his more than 70 charity and organisation patronages, Edward is a patron of the National Youth Theatre. His charity work is focused on the arts and athletics, which ties into the development of the DoE’s Award.
Edward met his wife Sophie in 1987, but he was dating her friend at the time. They met again several years later at a promotion shoot for the Prince Edward Summer Challenge to raise money for charity, when they formed a connection. In 1993, a few months into their relationship, speculation began among the British press over whether or not the two would marry. Edward took the unusual step of writing to newspaper editors to ask that they respect Sophie’s privacy and denied any wedding plans.
It wasn’t until 1998 that Edward proposed to Sophie while they were on holiday in the Bahamas. Buckingham Palace announced their engagement on 6 January 1999 and they were married six months later at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. He was given the title Earl of Wessex on his wedding day, with the subsidiary title of Viscount Severn – which was subsequently given to his son James when he was born in 2007.
Sophie suffered an ectopic pregnancy in 2001 and had to be airlifted to hospital. She underwent an operation to remove the foetus from her fallopian tube at the King Edward VII Hospital. Following the incident, she said: “I’m obviously very sad, but it was just not meant to be. But there will be other chances. Two years later, she became pregnant with the couple’s daughter, Lady Louise, who was born prematurely on 8 November 2003.
While Edward is one of the more discreet royals, rarely courting controversy, he has been known to make the rare comment. In 2021, he gave an interview to CNN following the departure of his nephew, the Duke of Sussex, from the royal family with Meghan Markle. Edward described the situation as “very sad”.
“Listen, weirdly, we’ve all been there before,” he said. “We’ve all had excessive intrusion and attention in our lives. And we’ve all dealt with it in slightly different ways, and listen, we wish them the very best of luck. It’s a really hard decision... It’s difficult for everyone, but that’s families for you.”