Monday, January 20, 2014

Royal Profile: Sophie, The Countess of Wessex

Sophie, The Countess of Wessex was born Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones  on 20 January 1965, the only daughter and second child  of  Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones and the late Mary Rhys-Jones{Source}. She has an elder brother David{Source}. 

While a youngster, her family relocated from Oxford to Kent, where she began attending Dulwich College Prepatory School{Source}. She then moved on to Kent College for Girls and West Kent College to complete her education{Source}. 

Upon completing her education, she began a career in public relations, where she worked for various firms, including Capitol Radio, The Quentin Bell Organisation and MacLaurin Communications and Media {Source}. She also briefly worked in Switzerland, where she worked as a ski representative, before she spent a year traveling and working in Australia{Source}. In 1996, she returned to England, where she opened her own public relations agency, R-JH Public Relations, which she ran with a business partner until 2001{Source}. In 2002, she resigned from her public sector life in order to focus full time on royal duties and working for The Firm{Source}.

During a tennis event in 1993, she met The Prince Edward, and shortly thereafter they began dating {Source}. After 5 1/2 years of dating, in January 1999, they announced their engagement{Source}. The wedding took place six months later on 19 June 1999 at St. George's Chapel {Source}. The morning of the wedding, her future mother-in-law announced new titles for her youngest son and new daughter-in-law, they were to be known as TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Viscount and Viscountess Severn{Source}. Together, they have two children, both of whom are in line for the throne and bear styles of children of an Earl rather than the traditional styles of HRH Prince/ss of Wessex{Source}:
  • The Lady Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor (2003)
  • James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn (2007)

The Countess of Wessex carries out a variety of offical engagements on behalf of her patronages and Queen Elizabeth II, both in the UK and abroad {Source}. She remains comitted to promoting work and needs of organizations that promote children and young people with sensory, learning and communications disabilities{Source}. She is also active with The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme{Source}. Some of these organizations include{Source}:
  • Dyslexia Action
  • Mencap
  • The National Autisic Society
  • The Royal College of Speech Language Therapists
  • Vision 2020
  • Disablility Initative
  • Childline
  • Women in Business Group
  • Girl Guiding UK (president since 2003)
  • Tomorrow's People
  • Royal Bath and West Show (Show President in 2010, Vice Patron since 2011)
  • Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) 
  • The Border Union Agricultural Society Bicentennial Celebration (2013)
She also holds numerous military appointments {Source}. In 2007, she became Royal Colonel of the 5th Battalion The Rifles {Source}. She has visited "her" battalion in both Germany and Afghanistan while they were on international deployments {Source}. She is also Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of Army Music and Queen Alexanda's Royal Army Nursing Corps {Source}. She frequently meets with military families and personnel whenever possible {Source}. In 2006, she was appointed Sponsor of HMS Darling and in 2008, Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Wittenring {Source}. She also holds two military appointments in Canada as Colonel-in-Chief of   The South Alberta Light Horse and Colonel-in-Chief of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment {Source}.

The Countess is a keen sportswoman, and in her spare time, she enjoys walking, running, ridding, sailing, tennis and reading{Source}

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