Prince Edward has a “lifetime’s experience of shielding his romantic feelings from public scrutiny” and “simply went through his professional paces and got on with the job at hand”, Ingrid Seward, wrote in her book “Prince Edward: A Biography”. Edward, the Earl of Wessex and Sophie Rhys-Jones’ relationship has been dubbed “the least complicated royal romance of modern times” after it began in 1993. Sophie, the well-trained PR executive “responded to Edward’s princely intentions”, and within a few weeks of dating, the couple were “virtually living together”, according to the royal biographer and editor of Majesty magazine.
Very quickly the British public became interested in the potential new royal, “Sophie was his girlfriend and, as far as Edward was concerned, that was all there is to it”.
The Earl of Wessex had “pleaded” with the media to leave him alone so his relationship with Sophie could “develop” in its own time.
According to Ms Seward, Edward “chose to handle the matter himself”, instead of issuing a statement through Buckingham Palace.
The 1995 biography claims that Edward “no longer drew monies from the Civil List”, which therefore emphasised his status as a private citizen.
Nevertheless, public interest in the Countess of Wessex grew and a host of acquaintances from Sophie’s past materialised.
Claims ranged from speculation about her true hair colour to whether or not she had a good singing voice.
This probing into her background was “most unnerving” for Mrs Ryhs-Jones, who had never occupied centre stage in the press before.
Unlike Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, Sophie had “no experience of dealing with the royal family”.
The book reveals that Prince Edward was difficult to quieten down when Andrew Morton, a royal biographer, discovered about Edward’s romantic relationship with Sophie.
Ms Seward claims: “It was Sarah Ferguson whom Edward thought was to blame.”
The Earl had once been close to Fergie but, according to Ms Seward, had “come to believe that she had made a fool of his brother”, and became “convinced that she had leaked the information about Sophie to her press contacts”.
The Queen, who has remained very fond of her daughter-in-law, Sarah Ferguson, summoned Edward into her private sitting room at the Palace, and “explained to him how unfair it was to accuse the Duchess of such disloyalty”.
Edward, who has a strong grasp of the “niceties of royal protocol”, immediately apologised to his mother for any upset he had caused.
As far as Edward and the Queen were concerned, it had been a small and minor family incident.
However, the book reveals that Andrew Morton’s source was, in fact, an employee rather than a member of the royal family.