Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
The Earl at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O'Neill in Stockholm, June 2013
|Earl of Wessex (more)|
|Heir apparent||James, Viscount Severn|
|Issue||Lady Louise Windsor
James, Viscount Severn
|House||House of Windsor|
|Father||Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh|
10 March 1964 |
Buckingham Palace, London, UK
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO ADC(P) (Edward Antony Richard Louis; born 10 March 1964) is the youngest of four children and the third son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time of his birth, he was third in line to succeed his mother; as of 2015, he is currently eighth in line.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Marriage
- 4 Official duties
- 5 Titles, styles, honours and arms
- 6 Ancestry
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life and education
|Royal Family of
the United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis was born at Buckingham Palace, on 10 March 1964, the third son and fourth and last child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Baptised on 2 May 1964 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle by the then Dean of Windsor, Robin Woods; the Prince's godparents were: Prince Richard of Gloucester (his mother's first cousin); the Duchess of Kent (his mother's first cousin by marriage, for whom Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, his mother's aunt by marriage, stood proxy); Princess George William of Hanover (his paternal aunt); the Prince of Hesse and by Rhine (his first cousin twice removed); and the Earl of Snowdon (his maternal uncle by marriage). As a child of the Sovereign, Edward was styled from birth as His Royal Highness The Prince Edward.
As with his older siblings, a governess was appointed to look after the Prince and was responsible for his early education at Buckingham Palace. At the age of seven, Edward was then sent to Gibbs School before attending, in September 1972, Heatherdown School, near Ascot in Berkshire. He then, as his father and elder brothers had done before him, moved to Gordonstoun, in northern Scotland, and was appointed Head Boy in his last term. Edward obtained a C-grade and two D-grades at A-level, and after leaving school spent a gap year abroad, working as a house tutor and junior master for two terms in September 1982 at the Wanganui Collegiate School in New Zealand.
Upon his return to Britain, Edward matriculated at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he read history. His admission to Cambridge caused some controversy at the time, since his A-level grades were far below the standard normally required, "straight As", for Oxbridge entrance. Prince Edward graduated in 1986 as BA (lower second class honours) and proceeded Master of Arts (Cantab) in 1991, making him the fourth of only five members of the Royal Family in history to have obtained a university degree.
Prince Edward made two very public attempts to pursue a career but, after failing at both, returned to his life as full-time member of the royal family.
On leaving university, Prince Edward joined the Royal Marines as an officer cadet, having been sponsored by the Marines with £12,000 towards his tuition at Cambridge University on condition of future service. However, in January 1987 he dropped out of the grueling commando course after completing just one third of the 12-month training. Media reported, at the time, that the move prompted a berating from Prince Philip who "reduced his son to prolonged tears."
After leaving the Marines, Edward opted for a career in entertainment. He commissioned the 1986 musical Cricket from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, for his mother's 60th birthday celebration, which led to a job offer at Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company, where he worked as a production assistant on musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express, and Cats. His duties reportedly involved making tea for the artistic staff. While there he met actress Ruthie Henshall, whom he dated for two years.
Edward's first foray into television production was the programme The Grand Knockout Tournament, informally known as It's a Royal Knockout, on 15 June 1987, in which teams sponsored by himself, Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of York competed for charity. The media attacked the programme; it was later reported that the Queen was not in favour of the event and that her courtiers had all advised against it.
In 1993, Edward formed Ardent Productions, under the name of Edward Windsor from 1995, and Edward Wessex from 1999. Ardent was involved in the production of a number of documentaries and dramas, but Edward was accused in the media of using his royal connections for financial gain, and the company was referred to by some industry insiders as "a sad joke" due to a perceived lack of professionalism in its operations. The Guardian opined that "to watch Ardent's few dozen hours of broadcast output is to enter a strange kingdom where every man in Britain still wears a tie, where pieces to camera are done in cricket jumpers, where people clasp their hands behind their backs like guardsmen. Commercial breaks are filled with army recruiting advertisements". 
Ardent's productions were somewhat better received in the United States and a documentary Edward made about his great uncle, Edward VIII (the late Duke of Windsor) in 1996, sold well worldwide. Nonetheless, the company reported losses every year it operated save one when Edward did not draw a salary. An Ardent two-man film crew invaded the privacy of his nephew, Prince William in September 2001, when he was studying at the University of St Andrews, against industry guidelines regarding the Royals' privacy. The Prince of Wales was reportedly angered by the incident. In March 2002, the Prince announced that he would step down as production director and joint managing director of Ardent to concentrate on his public duties and to support the Queen during her Golden Jubilee year. Ardent Productions was voluntarily dissolved in June 2009, with assets reduced to just £40. Edward's original backers in the venture are said to "have lost every penny".
The Prince met Sophie Rhys-Jones, then a public relations executive with her own firm, in 1994. Their engagement was announced on 6 January 1999. Edward proposed to Sophie with an Asprey and Garrard engagement ring worth an estimated £105,000: a two-carat oval diamond flanked by two heart-shaped gemstones set in 18-carat white gold.
Their wedding took place on 19 June 1999 in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. This was a break from the weddings of Edward's older siblings, which were large, formal events at Westminster Abbey or St Paul's Cathedral. On his wedding day, Prince Edward was created a hereditary peer as Earl of Wessex with the subsidiary title of Viscount Severn, again breaking from a tradition whereby sons of the Sovereign were created royal dukes. It was however revealed that the Queen wishes that he be elevated from the rank of Earl to Duke of Edinburgh after that dukedom, held by Prince Philip since 1947, reverts to the Crown (namely, after "both the death of the current Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales' succession as King"), and for his children to be styled as the children of an Earl, rather than as Prince/ss and Royal Highness (as previous Letters Patent issued by King George V stipulated).
The Earl of Wessex has assumed many royal duties from his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who has been reducing some commitments due to his age. Prince Edward succeeded Prince Philip as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (Vice-Patron since 2006) and opened the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand and the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. He has also taken over the Duke's role in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, attending Gold Award ceremonies around the world.
In February and March 2012, The Earl and Countess visited the Caribbean for the Diamond Jubilee. The itinerary consisted of Saint Lucia; Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Grenada; Trinidad and Tobago; Montserrat; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda. Highlights included Independence Day celebrations in Saint Lucia, addressing Senate and Assembly of Barbados jointly, and a visit to sites affected by the volcanic eruptions in Montserrat.
The Queen appointed the Earl of Wessex as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for 2014, being styled His Grace The Lord High Commissioner for the duration of General Assembly week (17–23 May).
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 10 March 1964 – 19 June 1999: His Royal Highness The Prince Edward
- 19 June 1999 – present: His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex
He has been a British prince since birth and his present style and full title is: His Royal Highness The Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, Earl of Wessex, Viscount Severn, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.
Before Edward's marriage in 1999, royal commentators conjectured that former royal dukedoms such as Cambridge or Sussex might be granted to him. Instead, the Palace announced its intention that Prince Edward would eventually succeed to the title Duke of Edinburgh, currently held by his father. In the meantime, in keeping with the tradition of sons of monarchs being ennobled upon marriage (while reserving the rank of duke for the future), Prince Edward became the first prince since the Tudors to be specifically created an earl, rather than a duke. The Sunday Telegraph reported that he was drawn to the historic title Earl of Wessex after watching the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, in which a character with that title is played by Colin Firth.
Honours and decorations
- 23 April 2006 – present: Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG)
- 10 March 2011 – present: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)
- 2 June 2003 – 10 March 2011: Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO)
- 10 March 1989 – 2 June 2003: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO)
- 2 June 2003 – 10 March 2011: Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO)
- 11 May 2005 – present: Honorary Member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (SOM)
- 1977: Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
- 1990: New Zealand Commemorative Medal
- 2002: Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
- 2005: Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan
- 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- 1 August 2004 – present: Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen (AdC(P))
Honorary military appointments
- 2002: Colonel-in-Chief of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
- 2003: Colonel-in-Chief of the Saskatchewan Dragoons
- 2005: Colonel-in-Chief of the Prince Edward Island Regiment
- 2007: Honorary Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- 2003: Royal Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry
- 2006: Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
- 2007: Royal Colonel of 2nd Battalion, The Rifles
- 2008: Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Waddington
- 2011: Royal Honorary Colonel of the London Regiment
- 2008: Liveryman Honoris Causa, Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
- 2008: Liveryman Honoris Causa, Worshipful Company of Gardeners
- 2011: Freeman of the City of London
- 2011: Member, Court of Assistants, Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
- 2011: Member, Court of Assistants, Worshipful Company of Gardeners
- 2013: Master, Worshipful Company of Gardeners
- Academic degrees
- 1991: Master of Arts, University of Cambridge
- 1994: Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Victoria
- 2007: Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Prince Edward Island
- 2013: Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Bath
Personal standard for Canada
The Earl of Wessex has his own royal banner for Canada, comprising the shield of the Canadian Royal Arms defaced with a blue roundel surrounded by a wreath of gold maple leaves, within which is a depiction of Prince Edward's cypher (an "E" surmounted by a coronet), and with a white label of three points, the centre one charged with a Tudor rose and the other two blank, taken from his coat of arms.
- As a titled royal, Edward needs no surname, but, when one is used, it is Mountbatten-Windsor (although he has previously used Windsor and Wessex).
- "TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex". Members of The Royal Family. Buckingham Palace. Retrieved 19 March 2008.[dead link]
- "Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex". The House Of Windsor. English Monarchs. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
He was baptised on 2 May 1964, at the private chapel at Windsor Castle by the Dean of Windsor and was given the names Edward Anthony Richard Louis.
- Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings
- "The family qualifications". The Daily Telegraph (London). 16 October 2006.
- "The prince with a difference". BBC News. 11 June 1999.
- Watson, Jeremy (12 June 2005). "William enjoys a degree of success". The Scotsman (Edinburgh).
- "Commando Life Losing Appeal for Prince?". New York Times. 12 January 1987. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Edward Goes His Own Way". people.com. People. 26 January 1987. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Prince Edward Joins the Theater at 'Lowest Rung'". LA Times. 19 January 1988. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Ben Pimlott "Polishing Their Image", extract from The Queen, HarperCollins (1996) reprinted on the PBS Frontline webpage
- Beckett, Andy (5 March 2002). "It's a royal cock-up". The Guardian (London).
- Ardent Productions Filoography, BFI Film & TV Database
- Karlin, Susan (26 September 1998). "Edward Windsor: Truly a Prince Among Producers". Los Angeles Times.
- Becket, Andy (4 March 2002). "It's a royal cock-up". The Guardian.
- "Edward: No intention to offend". BBC News. 2 September 1999.
- Summerskill, Ben (29 October 2000). "Losses double at Prince's TV firm". The Guardian (London).
- "Edward's turbulent media career". BBC News. 27 September 2001.
- Alderson, Andrew (30 September 2001). "Prince Edward to apologise to Queen and agrees to stop making royal films". The Sunday Telegraph (London).
- Moore, Matthew (29 March 2010). "Prince Edward's Ardent Productions left with assets of just £40". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Warren, Jane (18 October 2011). "Prince Edward's Ardent Productions left with assets of just £40". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Skyes, Tom (25 July 2012). "Sex Lives of the New Royals". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "Crown jewels: The fabulous rings which sealed the love of Europe's royal couples". HELLO! magazine (UK).
- The London Gazette: . 28 June 1999.
- Whitaker's Almanack 2010, page 46 'Peers of the Blood Royal'
- "The Royal Family > Members of the Royal Family > HRH The Earl of Wessex > Marriage and Family". Buckingham Palace. Retrieved 26 October 2008.[dead link]
- "The Duke of Edinburgh's Award". Royal family. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Royals to begin Caribbean tour bypasses Dominica". The Dominican. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- Lynch, Sharon (27 January 2012). "Barbados: Royal Visit To Mark Queen's Diamond Jubilee". Bajan Sun Online. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Government, 2014.
- Styles and titles, Royal family.
- Eden, Richard (12 December 2010). "Royal wedding: Prince William asks the Queen not to make him a duke". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- "Noblesse et Royautés", Guests to Victoria of Sweden's wedding, Photo
- The Earl of Wessex appointed GVCO, 10 March 2011 Buckingham Palace. Retrieved 20 March 2011
- "Prince Edward Awarded Saskatchewan Order of Merit" (Press release). Government of Saskatchewan. 11 May 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
- "London Gazette". Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- "The Earl of Wessex: Honours and appointments". Royal Household.
- "The Chancellor". Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- "Prince Edward gives medals to P.E.I. soldiers". CTV. 14 October 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.|
- Edward's pages at the official royal website
- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex at the Internet Movie Database
Prince Edward, Earl of WessexBorn: 10 March 1964
|Lines of succession|
Princess Eugenie of York
|Line of succession to the British throne
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
The Duke of York
HRH The Earl of Wessex
The Duke of Cambridge
in current practice
|Chancellor of the University of Bath