Sophie, Countess of Wessex

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, GCVO (born Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones on 20 January 1965), is the wife of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, himself the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Married in 1999, she worked in public relations until 2002 and now supports her husband in his royal duties. The Earl and Countess have two children, Louise and James.


Early life

Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones was born at Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, on 20 January 1965, the second child and first daughter of Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones, a retired tyre salesman, and his wife, Mary (née O'Sullivan), a secretary,[2] who already had a son, David. Sophie was named for her father's sister, Helen, who died in a riding accident more than a decade before Sophie was born. Her godfather, actor Thane Bettany, is her father's stepbrother;[3] both men spent their early life in Sarawak, North Borneo, then a British protectorate ruled by the White Rajahs.[4]

While she was still young, the Rhys-Jones family moved to Brenchley, Kent. She began her education at Dulwich College Preparatory School, before moving on to Kent College, Pembury. She then trained as a secretary at West Kent College, Tonbridge.


She began a career in public relations, working for a variety of firms, including four years at Capital Radio, where she was assigned to the press and promotions department, as well as public relations companies The Quentin Bell Organisation and MacLaurin Communications & Media. She also worked as a ski representative in Switzerland and spent a year travelling and working in Australia. In 1996, with enough experience behind her, Rhys-Jones then launched her public relations agency, RJH Public Relations, which she ran with her business partner, Murray Harkin.

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