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Duchess Sophie's 'badly missed' sacrifice following Prince Edward marriage

The Duchess of Edinburgh had her own PR firm from 1996 to 2002

Sophie Rhys-Jones in a veil in the car on her wedding day
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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The Duchess of Edinburgh was one of many royal brides who left behind their careers when they married into the royal family.

Just like the Duchess of Sussex, who was a Suits actress, and Queen Letizia, who was a journalist, Duchess Sophie had established herself as a PR boss before she exchanged vows with Prince Edward.

Sophie Rhys-jones at her office in Mayfair© Getty
Sophie Rhys-Jones worked as a publicist before meeting Prince Edward

In fact, it was her job that caused the couple to meet in 1987 when Sophie was working as a press officer at Capital Radio and the late Queen Elizabeth II's son Edward was dating Sophie’s friend. 

Their love story began after their paths crossed again in December 1993 when Sophie worked on publicity for the royal’s Real Tennis Challenge event. She launched her own PR company RJH Public Relations in 1996, two years before Edward proposed in the Bahamas in December 1998.

WATCH: Find out why Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie opted for a Windsor wedding

While she tried to continue working after the couple got married at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle in June 1999, this only lasted for three years.

Sophie gave up her business in 2002 after her conversation with Mazher Mahmood, a News of the World reporter pretending to be a sheikh, was recorded and leaked to the press. The Duchess reportedly made controversial remarks about then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, leader of the opposition William Hague, and even King Charles and Queen Camilla. 

Sophie Wessex talking to her new husband Prince Edward© IAN WALDIE
The couple got married at St George's Chapel in Windsor in June 1999

It led to a debate about Sophie's ability to maintain both aspects of her life – her responsibilities as a royal and her work as a publicist. She later released a statement that read: "I am deeply distressed by the carrying out of an entrapment operation on me and my business but I also much regret my own misjudgment in succumbing to that subterfuge.

sophie edward wedding guests
The Duchess gave up her PR firm two years after joining the royal family

"This has been a difficult time for me. I take very seriously the issues raised and, naturally, regret any embarrassment above all to the Queen."

After giving up her business, the Duchess told Harper's Bazaar that she "did miss it very badly for a while."

However, she learnt to harness her transferrable skills "without overburdening the organisations I'm involved with – because my opinion is only one opinion."

sophie edward wedding reception
Sophie was pictured in her rarely-seen second wedding dress

Meanwhile, Meghan Markle similarly commented about her decision to quit acting shortly before she married Prince Harry. During the couple's first joint interview, she described it as "the transition out of my career" that allowed her to focus more energy on causes that were important to her.

"You realize that as you have access, or a voice that people are willing to listen to, [it comes with] a lot of responsibility, which I take seriously," she said.

Meghan and the cast of Suits became good friends from the beginning, pictured here back in 2012, a year after the series launched© Getty
Meghan was previously a Suits actress

When asked about giving up her career, she replied: "I don't see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change. It's a new chapter. And keep in mind I've been working on my show for seven years.

"We were very fortunate to have that sort of longevity on a series. For me, once we hit the 100 episode marker, I thought, I have ticked this box and I feel really proud of the work we’ve done there and now it’s time to work as a team with [Harry]."

DISCOVER: Princess Eugenie lets slip inside joke with husband Jack Brooksbank on wedding day

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