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Duchess Sophie and Prince Edward's rarely-seen photo from the night that sparked their enduring love story

Romance was in the air on a June day in 1993 for the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie Rhys-jones And Prince Edward Kissing On The Day Of Their Engagemen
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
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The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh's enduring love story had an unlikely beginning to say the least. 

Sophie Rhys-Jones, as she was formerly known, was just 22 when she locked eyes with Prince Edward, 23, for the first time. The Duchess was working in public relations at Capitol Radio when the royal stepped into the studio in 1987 - though it wasn't until six years later that sparks started to fly. 

The future couple had yet another unexpected encounter in 1993, when Sophie was leading the publicity for the Prince’s Real Tennis Challenge event.

A rare, unearthed photograph from that night in 1993 shows the moment the couple's lives changed forever. See it below...

Sophie Rhys-Jones worked in public relations when she met her future husband, Prince Edward© Richard Young/Shutterstock
Sophie Rhys-Jones worked in public relations when she met her future husband, Prince Edward

Sophie, dressed in a smart white blouse and embroidered waistcoat, looks shy yet sophisticated as she appears to silently oversee the event. 

Just a few steps away from her is her future husband, Prince Edward, who dressed in tennis whites after playing a charity match. 

Edward and Sophie married in 1999© Getty
The Duke and Duchess of Edinbrugh are senior members of the royal family

According to royal expert Ingrid Seward, author of 'Prince Edward', the royal "surreptitiously" asked for Sophie's phone number that night - and the rest is history. 

Making their love story even more special is the chance that Sophie and Edward were actually never meant to cross paths on that day in 1993. 

Sophie’s former PR manager, Malcolm MacLaurin, told Seward that the chance encounter between the pair at Queen's tennis club in London was not planned. 

Listen to HELLO!'s podcast episode 'A Right Royal Love Story' for the lowdown on all your favourite royal couples' love stories

She wrote: "Britain’s former number one player, Sue Barker, was booked to appear with Edward at a photocall being held in aid of the Prince Edward Challenge, which was raising money for local charities around Britain."

Prince Edward holding a baby girl while stood with Duchess Sophie© Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library
Edward and Sophie have since welcomed two children together

Yet Sky Sports opposed the British tennis player's appearance to promote another brand. With less than a 24-hour turnaround, Mr MacLaurin was left with no option but to "send one of his own employees" to be photographed with the Prince. 

WATCH: Duchess Sophie makes adorable comment about Prince Edward during their proposal

It must have been love at first sight for Sophie and Edward, however, as the lovebirds have been together ever since - tying the knot in 1999 at St George's Chapel in Windsor. 

Prince Edward and Sophie on their wedding day© Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library
The royals got married in June 1999

Edward popped the question with a stunning Asprey and Garrard white gold ring featuring a two-carat oval diamond surrounded by two heart-shaped gemstones and rumoured to be worth £105,000.

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