Sophie Rhys-Jones, Sophie, Countess of Wessex GCVO (Sophie Helen; née Rhys-Jones; born 20 January 1965), is the wife of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and member of the British Royal Family. Her husband is the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Married in 1999, she worked in public relations until 2002 and now supports her husband in his Royal duties. The Earl and Countess have two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones was born at Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, on 20 January 1965, the second child and first daughter of Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones (born 1931), a retired tyre salesman, and his wife, Mary (née O’Sullivan; 1934-2005), a secretary, who already had a son, David.
Sophie was named after her father’s sister, Helen, who died in a riding accident more than a decade before Sophie was born. Her godfather, actor Thane Bettany, is her father’s stepbrother; both men spent their early life in Sarawak, North Borneo, then a British Protectorate ruled by the White Rajahs.
While she was still young, the Rhys-Jones family moved from Wales to Brenchley, Kent. She began her education at Dulwich Preparatory School, before moving on to Kent College, Pembury where she was friends with Sarah Sienesi, with whom she subsequently shared a flat in Fulham and who later became her Lady-in-Waiting. She then trained as a secretary at West Kent College, Tonbridge.