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HomeThe Royal FamilyEarl of Wessex

Earl of Wessex

Edward Antony Richard Louis was born on 10 March 1964. The Queen’s youngest child and third son, he is eleventh in line to the throne.

His formal education began at Gibbs School, followed by Heatherdown Preparatory School, near Windsor. Like his brothers before him, he went on to attend Gordonstoun, graduating with A Levels in history, English literature and economic and political studies. He then went on to spend his gap year teaching at the Wanganui College in New Zealand.

He went to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he read history, graduating with a third class Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986.

He followed Royal Family custom, joining the Royal Marines immediately after leaving university but resigned his commission in January 1987. At this point he abandoned any thoughts of a military career and moved into the world of theatre, which he had enjoyed at both school and university.

In the late 1980s he worked for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company, where he met the actress Ruthie Henshall, whom he dated for two years.

His first experience in the world of television was his production of It’s a Royal Knockout in 1987. Although the primary purpose was raising money for charity, the undignified exposure involved caused considerable controversy. In 1993 he became director of the Ardent Television production company, which produced dramas and documentaries. Edward stepped down as managing director in 2002.

On 19 June 1999 the Prince married Sophie Rhys-Jones, a public relations manager with her own company, at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. This intimate private setting was a break with tradition: royal weddings have traditionally taken place in famous public arenas such as Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. The Earl and Countess of Wessex have two children: Lady Louise Mountbatten Windsor (2003) and James, Viscount Severn (2007).

The Queen conferred on Prince Edward the titles of Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn – another break with tradition, as sons of the Sovereign are conventionally created dukes. It was announced that when the current creation of the dukedom of Edinburgh, held by Prince Philip since 1947, reverts to The Crown, which will not occur until after Charles has acceded to the throne, Edward will be created Duke of Edinburgh. In March 2019 the Queen granted him the additional title the Earl of Forfar.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex carry out a full schedule of official activities for The Queen, and many of The Duke of Edinburgh’s duties have fallen to his youngest son. Edward is President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and has taken over his father’s role in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. The Earl and Countess of Wessex have also undertaken several overseas tours. They live at Bagshot Park in Surrey.