Monday, March 12, 2012

Royal Profile: HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Edward Antony Richard Louis Mountbatten-Windsor (AKA HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex) was born the third son and fourth child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on 10 March 1964. At the time of his birth, his two brothers stood before him and the throne, now, in addition to his brothers he has two nephews (Prince Charles's sons), and two nieces (Prince Andrew's daughters), making him 7th in line.

Like his older siblings, he was born at Buckingham Palace. He was baptised on 2 May 1964 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle by the then Dean of Windsor,Robert Woods; the Prince's godparents were: Prince Richard of Gloucester (his cousin); the Duchess of Kent (his cousin by marriage, for whom Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent stood proxy); Princess George William of Hanover (his paternal aunt); the Prince of Hesse and by Rhine (his cousin); and the Earl of Snowdon (his maternal uncle by marriage).

Again, following the upbrining of his siblings, his early education was the responsibility of a governess. At the age of 7, he entered Gibbs School, which he attended for one year. When he was eight, he moved on to Heatherdown Preparatory School, and eventually, following in his father and older brothers' footseps, he attended Gordonstoun SchoolWhen his formal education ended, he began a gap year, working as a house tutor and junior master for two terms in September 1982 at the Wanganui Collegiate School in New Zealand.  When he returned to his home country, he began a study in history at the Jesus College, Cambridge. Of course, because his grades were less than perfect when receiving his A-Levels, his admittance to Cambride was controversial. However, he is one of four members of the British Royal Family to ever obtain a Masters degree (which he obtained in 1991).

Upon ending his studies, he attempted at a millitary career, but didn't make it as far as his older brothers had-he barely made it past training before giving it up for a life in the arts. He began to work along side Andrew Loyd Webber for several of Webber's productions. While working with Webber, he commissioned the 1986 musical Cricket from Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, for his mother's 60th birthday celebration.

While working with Webber, he met a girl, actress Ruthie Henshall, whom he dated for two years. He began dating public relations representative, Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1993, after meeting her at a tennis match. The pair dated for six years before announcing their engagement in January of 1999. They married on 19 June 1999 at Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel. His wedding broke the royal tradition of weddings either taking place at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's Church. On 19 June, Queen Elizabeth conffered the titles Earl of Wessex and  Viscount Severn, braking another royal tradition that the Queen's sons be created dukes upon marriage. It was announced that upon the deaths of both Queen Elizabeth & Prince Phillip that Prince Edward is to be given the title Duke of Edinburgh-but that will be up to the then sovereign at the time (whether it be Prince Charles or Prince William...only time will tell). At the time of his wedding in 1999, the Royal House also announced that rather than his children be known as Prince/Princess of Wessex (like they legally are under the Royal Pattens of George V as male-line grandchildren of a monarch), they will hold styles of the children of an Earl, thus, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (Novemer 2003) and James, Viscount Severn (December 2007).

Also during his time dabbing in the arts, he cohorted several members of the British Royal Family-his sister Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, his sister-in-law and older brother The Duke & Duchess of York-into joining him in the fundraising-reality television program like show,  It's A Royal Knockout {Video, I cannot believe someone put this on YouTube!}. 

In 1993, he started his own production company, Ardent Production, while he leased the Royal Residence, Bagshot Park. He ran this business under the name Edward Windsor from 1995-199, then as Edward Wessex from 1999-2002. In Europe, although his business was successful, he was often accused of using his status for financial gains. In the United States, his productions were often well-received. In 1996, his company produced a documentary about Prince Edward's great-uncle, King Edward VIII, which did well globally. 

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