Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Infobox British Royalty|royal
name = Prince Edward
title = Earl of Wessex

imgw = 220
caption = The Earl and Countess on their wedding day
succession = Earl of Wessex
successor = James, Viscount Severn
suc-type = Heir-Apparent
spouse = Sophie, Countess of Wessex
issue = Lady Louise Windsor
James, Viscount Severn
full name = Edward Antony Richard LouisAs a titled royal, Edward holds no surname, but, when one "is" used, it is Mountbatten-Windsor (although he has previously used Windsor and Wessex)]
titles = "HRH" The Earl of Wessex
"HRH" The Prince Edward
royal house = House of Windsor
father = Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
mother = Elizabeth II
date of birth = Birth date and age|1964|3|10|df=yes
place of birth = Buckingham Palace, London
date of christening = 2 May 1964
place of christening = St. George's Chapel, Windsor
occupation = prev. Television; Theatre; Military|

The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (Edward Antony Richard Louis; born 10 March 1964 cite web|url =|title = TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex|accessdate = 2008-03-19|last =|authorlink = |year = undated|] ) is a member of the British Royal Family, the youngest child and third son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He has held the title of Earl of Wessex since 1999. The Earl of Wessex is currently seventh in the line of succession and has been since the birth of his niece Princess Eugenie in 1990.

Early life

Edward was born at Buckingham Palace, London. His mother is the current reigning Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth Realms, Elizabeth II, the elder daughter of George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Mother). His father is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

He was baptised in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 2 May 1964 by Robert Woods, Dean of Windsor. His godparents were: Prince Richard of Gloucester (now the Duke of Gloucester), Prince Louis of Hesse and by Rhine, The Earl of Snowdon, The Duchess of Kent (for whom Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent stood proxy) and his paternal aunt, Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark.

As a child of the reigning monarch, he was styled "His Royal Highness" The Prince Edward from birth.


Prince Edward, like other royal children at that time, was educated by a private governess until the age of seven. Afterwards he attended Gibbs School, in Kensington, West London. In 1972, he went to Heatherdown Preparatory School near Ascot in Berkshire. Following in the footsteps of his father and brothers, he attended Gordonstoun School in Scotland and was appointed head boy in his last term.

Like his brother, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward spent a "gap year" abroad, spending two terms at the Collegiate School, Wanganui, New Zealand, as a house tutor/junior master during September 1982.

Returning to England, Prince Edward enrolled at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, reading history. He graduated with a third class BA degree in 1986. Subsequently, he was awarded an MA (Cantab.) degree in 1991.

This makes Prince Edward the fourth of only five members of the Royal Family in history to have obtained a university degree:
#Prince William of Gloucester (first cousin of The Queen through their grandfather, George V);
#Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (first cousin of The Queen through their grandfather, George V);
#Charles, Prince of Wales (first child of The Queen);
#Prince Edward; and
#Prince William of Wales (Prince Charles' first child and Prince Edward's own nephew).


On leaving university, Prince Edward joined the Royal Marines to train as an officer. However, he resigned his commission in January 1987, before graduation. After leaving the Marines, Prince Edward became more involved in theatre, an activity he had enjoyed extensively at school and university. In the late 1980s, he worked for two theatrical production companies, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company. During his time at Lloyd Webber's company, he worked on such plays as "Phantom of the Opera", "Starlight Express", and "Cats", and dated actress Ruthie Henshall for two years.

Prince Edward's first foray into the world of television production was, "It's a Royal Knockout" television programme in June 1987, in which teams sponsored by himself and other members of the Royal Family competed for charity. In 1993, Prince Edward formed the Ardent Television production company, under the name Edward Windsor. Ardent was heavily involved in the production of documentaries and dramas, particularly on the Royal Families of Europe. With extensive access to the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, Prince Edward had plenty of material for his work. However, he was accused in the media of using his Royal connections for personal and business gain, particularly given the financial problems of Ardent since its founding (it reported losses in all years of existence except one). In 2002, the Prince announced that he would step down as director of production and joint managing director of Ardent to concentrate on his public duties and to support the Queen during her Golden Jubilee year.

During his television career, the Prince used the names Edward Windsor and, later, Edward Wessex, leading "The Guardian", for one, to refer to him as "the Edward formerly known as Prince". [,,288894,00.html "The Guardian" "Wessex Prince... Or Having Your Cake and Eating it", 22 June 1999.] ]


In 1994, the leaders of Estonia's (now defunct) Royalist Party, with 10 percent of the seats in the Estonian National Parliament, wrote to Prince Edward indicating that they would, if they came to power, like to offer him the position of King of Estonia. In their letter, they said that they wanted Edward as King because of their admiration "for him, Britain, its monarchy, democracy and culture". It is unknown how, or even if, the Prince responded, but he obviously has not assumed, and almost certainly never will assume, the non-existent throne of this Baltic statecite journal|last=Mayer|first=Jeremy D.|authorlink=Jeremy D. Mayer|coauthors=Sigelman, Lee|title=Zog for Albania, Edward for Estonia, and Monarchs for All the Rest? The Royal Road to Prosperity, Democracy, and World Peace|journal=PS: Political Science and Politics|volume=31|issue=4|pages=771–774|date=December 1998|url=|month=Dec|year=1998|doi=10.2307/420713] .


On 6 January 1999 the Prince announced his engagement to Sophie Rhys-Jones, a public relations manager with her own firm. Their wedding took place on 19 June 1999 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. This was a break with the recent tradition of holding large formal royal weddings at Westminster Abbey.

On his wedding day, the Queen conferred the titles of Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn on Prince Edward. This was a break with tradition, whereby the sons of a sovereign were usually created a Duke, but the Earldom of Wessex has a distinguished Royal lineage, the Kingdom of Wessex having played the leading role in the unification of Anglo-Saxon England. The last person known as "Earl of Wessex" was Harold Godwinson, prior to his accession to the English throne as King Harold II in 1066. Edward is styled "HRH" The Earl of Wessex, with Sophie taking the style "HRH" The Countess of Wessex.

It was also announced at that time that the Earl of Wessex would be created Duke of Edinburgh when the current creation of that Dukedom, held by Prince Philip since 1947, reverts to the Crown [ The Royal Family – The Earl of Wessex at 40] ] [ The Royal Family – TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex – Background] ] . This, however, will not happen automatically. Should Prince Philip predecease the Queen, the title will be inherited by his firstborn son, the Prince of Wales, and will only revert to the Crown once Prince Charles succeeds to the throne. Should the Queen predecease Prince Philip, the Dukedom will revert upon Prince Philip's death. In either case, Prince Edward will not "inherit" the Dukedom: instead he will have to be granted it by Letters Patent of the Queen's successor.

In addition, it was announced that any children of the Earl and Countess would not use the style Prince or Princess with the style Royal Highness, to which they are entitled under the Letters Patent drawn up by George V in 1917. Instead, as the children of the Earl, the first-born male would use the courtesy title Viscount Severn, any further sons "The Honourable", and all daughters "Lady" [ The Royal Family – HRH The Earl of Wessex – Marriage and Family] ] . It is not known how this agreement will be affected by the Earl's future creation as Duke of Edinburgh (unlike the younger sons of Earls, the younger sons of Dukes are usually styled "Lord"). This agreement is not binding for the couple's children once they reach adulthood, as they are entitled to the style "HRH" and may eventually choose to use it.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have two children: Lady Louise Windsor (born 8 November 2003) and a son, James, Viscount Severn (born 17 December 2007) [cite news|url=|title=Countess gives birth to a baby boy|publisher=BBC News|date=17 December 2007] . It is expected that Viscount Severn will take the courtesy title Earl of Wessex when his father becomes Duke of Edinburgh and will, in time, succeed his father to the Dukedom.

The family reside at Bagshot Park in Surrey, once the home of the Duke of Connaught's family.

Royal duties

The Earl and Countess of Wessex carry out a full schedule of Royal duties on behalf of the Queen, receiving civil list monies from the Queen of £141,000 per annum. [ [ The Monarch Today] , Official Website of the British Monarchy, Retrieved 2007-12-11]

The Earl has, in recent years, succeeded to many of the roles of his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is reducing some of his roles owing to his age. The Earl replaced him as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (since 2006 its Vice-Patron) and opened the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. He has also taken over the Duke's role in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme (which is very fitting given the understanding that he will become the Duke of Edinburgh upon the death of his parents).

The Earl attended the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Ceremony, along with 100 award achievers, at Havergal College in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the 7th of June, 2008.

As part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, the Prince visited Richard Huish College in Taunton, Somerset. There, he met with several representatives and participants of the scheme. The Earl of Wessex also made a visit to Torquay Boys' Grammar School where he talked, in front of around 400 people, about the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme.

His other appointments reflect his interests in sport and the arts.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Infobox Royal Styles

royal name=HRH the Earl of Wessex
dipstyle=His Royal Highness
offstyle=Your Royal Highness

*10 March 1964 – 19 June 1999: "His Royal Highness" The Prince Edward
*19 June 1999 – present: "His Royal Highness" The Earl of Wessex

The Prince's style in full: "His Royal Highness The Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, Earl of Wessex, Viscount Severn, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Honorary Member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty"


* KG Knight of the Garter, "23 April 2006"
* , "10 March 1989"
** KCVO Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, "2 June 2003"
* to the Queen, "1 August 2004"
* , "10 March 1977"
* , "2 June 2002"
* SOM Honorary Member, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, "11 May 2005 [ Press release - Saskatchewan Order of Merit] ] "
* Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan, "7 June 2005"
* New Zealand Commemorative Medal (150th anniversary of Treaty of Waitangi), "1990"

Honorary Degrees

* Honorary Degree, University of Victoria, August 1994
* Honorary Degree, University of Prince Edward Island, 13 October 2007


* 2Lt, "October 1986-January 1987": Second-Lieutenant, Royal Marines

Honorary military appointments

* Colonel-in-Chief of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
* Colonel-in-Chief of the Prince Edward Island Regiment [cite web|url=|title=Prince Edward to visit Canada|accessdate=2007-09-10|author=Canadian Press|date=2007-09-05]
* Colonel-in-Chief of the Saskatchewan Dragoons

* Royal Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry
* Royal Colonel of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles
* Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
* Honorary Air Commodore Royal Air Force Waddington


Infobox COA wide



notes = The Earl's personalized coat of arms are those of the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with a label for difference
adopted =
crest =
torse =
helm =
escutcheon = Quarterly 1st and 4th gules three lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langed azure 2nd or a lion rampant gules armed and langued azure within a double tressure flory counterflory of the second 3rd azure a harp or stringed argent
supporters = Dexter a lion rampant gardant Or imperially crowned Proper, sinister a unicorn Argent, armed, crined and unguled Or, gorged with a coronet Or composed of crosses patée and fleurs de lis a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back also Or
compartment =
motto =
orders =
other_elements =
banner =
badge =
symbolism = As with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. The first and third quarters are the arms of England, the second of Scotland, the fourth of Ireland.
previous_versions =


style=font-size: 90%; line-height: 110%;
boxstyle=padding-top: 0; padding-bottom: 0;
boxstyle_1=background-color: #fcc;
boxstyle_2=background-color: #fb9;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
2= 2. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark
3= 3. Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
4= 4. Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
5= 5. Princess Alice of Battenberg
6= 6. George VI of the United Kingdom
7= 7. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
8= 8. George I of Greece
9= 9. Olga Konstantinovna of Russia
10= 10. Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven
11= 11. Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine
12= 12. George V of the United Kingdom
13= 13. Mary of Teck
14= 14. Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
15= 15. Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck
16= 16. Christian IX of Denmark
17= 17. Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
18= 18. Grand Duke Konstantine Nicholaievich of Russia
19= 19. Alexandra Iosifovna of Altenburg
20= 20. Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine
21= 21. Julia von Hauke
22= 22. Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
23= 23. Princess Alice of the United Kingdom
24= 24. Edward VII of the United Kingdom
25= 25. Alexandra of Denmark
26= 26. Francis, Duke of Teck
27= 27. Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge
28= 28. Claude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
29= 29. Frances Dora Smith
30= 30. Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck
31= 31. Caroline Louisa Burnaby

ee also

*List of British princes


External links

* [ - The Earl of Wessex]
*imdb name|id=0921844|name=Edward Wessex
* [ Award Winner Receives Royal Treatment (2003)]
* [ Earl of Wessex Visits Saskatchewan Regiment (2003)]

NAME=Wessex, Edward
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Mountbatten-Windsor, Edward Antony Richard Louis
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Youngest son of Elizabeth II
DATE OF BIRTH=10 March 1964
PLACE OF BIRTH=London, United Kingdom

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