Sophie Countess of Wessex went from a scandalous past to being a ‘royal key worker’ – but how could she help Meghan?

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  • Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is one of few people who can relate 
to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Both women were successful in their own right before marrying into the Royal Family, yet both have dealt with the lifestyle changes in very different ways.

    On the surface, Sophie, 55, is an ideal member of the Royal Family. She’s family orientated and hard-working – having even been named ‘royal key worker’ for all her charitable visits during lockdown. 

    With the Duke and Duchess of Sussex having stepped down from royal life, the public are seeing more of the Countess of Wessex than ever as she begins to flourish in the spotlight. 

    And royal expert Duncan Larcombe thinks Meghan could learn from Sophie…  

    Sophie was no stranger to scandal when she tied the knot with the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, in 1999, after her phone was tapped by the News of the World – leaking damning conversations about the Royal Family – and a topless photo of her was published in The Sun.

    Yet fast-forward 20 years and the mum-of-two not only has an impeccable ability to toe the line, she also boasts an incredibly close relationship with the Queen. So how did she turn things around?

    Duncan says, ‘Sophie didn’t have an easy ride and you could argue that it was worse than Meghan’s arrival into the Royal Family. But after the scandal she changed her circle of friends and proceeded to transform herself into an ideal royal wife. She adapted, she survived and now she flourishes.’

    Sophie Countess of Wessex


    The Sussexes’ decision to step down from royal life could suggest Meghan’s not willing to make comparable sacrifices. 

    Duncan explains, ‘Both Meghan and Sophie’s initial struggles show just how difficult it is for somebody who has a successful career to join the Royal Family. And how important it is, rightly or wrongly, to make those sacrifices.’

    While Meghan, up until recently, still rubbed shoulders with her A-list pals, including Jessica Mulroney, Sophie keeps her circle firmly closed. ‘You simply do not see Sophie mixing with her business chums, it’s all about her family and the Royal Family – it’s all about duty.’ 

    While their stories are similar, Duncan notes one crucial difference in the ways these two women have faced adversity over the years – Sophie accepted help, while Meghan appears to have shunned it. 

    Duncan says, ‘Make no mistake, when Sophie first entered the Royal Family she was in the crosshairs. But she decided that she wasn’t more important than the institution that she joined and she knew she needed to change and adapt – Meghan is simply not going to do that. Meghan is not prepared to toe the family line – and that really is what lies 
at the heart of this.’ 

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    In fact, Sophie’s close bond with the Queen is born out of the fact that the 94-year-old was instrumental 
in saving her in those early days. 
‘The key difference is that Sophie listened,’ Duncan adds. ‘The Queen in many ways was instrumental in rescuing Sophie. What Harry and Meghan have done, by contrast, is think that they 
can work it out by themselves. The Queen is a powerful woman, and she could have intervened. We know that the offer of help was there and it was turned down.’

    The Sussexes’ departure and Prince Andrew’s decision to step down 
from royal duties for the foreseeable future, due to his controversial friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, means Sophie is attending more royal engagements than ever.  

    Duncan says, ‘In one fell swoop they’ve lost two of the most senior members of the working Royal Family from the royal rota and someone’s got to fill that gap. Without Prince Harry or Prince Andrew around I think it’s inevitable that Sophie’s profile 
will continue to increase.’

    With Sophie’s popularity on the rise, Duncan thinks it’s because 
she owned her mishaps – which proves she’s human.

    ‘She’s very hard-working and people that meet her absolutely 
rave about her. Sophie did not take the narrative of being a victim – and that’s the difference. Meghan acts like she’s a victim.’