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Wetsuit-clad Duchess Sophie is unrecognisable in super sporty throwback

Prince Edward's wife showed her sporty streak in this unearthed snap

Sophie Rhys-jones in the 90s holding flowers smiling
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
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Duchess Sophie is well-loved among royal fans for her effortless sense of style. Whether attending a historic state banquet or a relaxed public engagement, the Duchess, 59, can be relied upon to bring her sartorial A-game.

But there is another side to Sophie, a sportier side. The Duchess of Edinburgh looked unrecognisable in a set of unearthed throwback photos where she showed off her sporty streak whilst on a staycation in 1994. 

sophie in wetsuit in sea© Getty
Sophie looked so different with cropped hair

The then-Sophie Rhys-Jones was spotted five years before her 1999 wedding to Prince Edward in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The wetsuit-clad PR professional was seen taking a dip having gone water skiing in Cowes on the Isle of Wight where she sported cropped sandy blonde locks, minimal makeup, and stud earrings.

Sophie waterskiing with peter phillips© Getty
Sophie went waterskiing with her soon-to-be nephew

In a second unearthed snap the royal was seen with a then-17-year-old Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne, who would end up being her nephew. Later that day, Sophie was seen showing off her sporting prowess mid-windsurf. 

Sophie windsurfing© Getty
Sophie tried her hand at windsurfing

The wetsuit moment marked a sharp departure from her slew of fabulous outfits that year that included the red jacket and slinky black skirt she wore to the wedding of her friend Lord Ivor Mountbatten. 

Sophie exiting car in red jacket and black skirt © Getty
Sophie attended Lord Ivor Mountbatten's wedding looking like a movie star

Sophie has established herself as a woman of many sporting talents. See her best athletic moments…

sophie cycling© Getty


Sophie joined a group of visually impaired cyclists for a tandem bike ride in Bushy Park in 2021 in her role as patron of sight loss charity Vision Foundation where she was seen donning her best lycra and bike helmet.

Sophie in camouflage holding rifle© Getty

Clay pigeon shooting

Sophie swapped her lyra for a pair of ear defenders as she partook in a clay pigeon shoot during the Countess of Wessex Cup at Gibraltar Barracks last year.  

sophie playing hockey© Getty


Doing her public girl educators proud, Sophie was seen playing hockey during a visit to England Hockey at the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre in 2016 in the brightest blue trainers.  

sophie in suit swinging golf club© Getty


In 2005 the Duchess launched a charity golf day at the Camberley Heath Golf Club where she wore a fabulously unsporty beige power suit with heeled loafers. 

sophie on a yacht in denim shorts© Getty


Sailing is clearly an enduring passion for the royal who was seen at the helm of the Donald Searle yacht during an Association of Sail Training Organisations sailing day in 2018 in denim shorts.

sophie running marathon in rain© Getty


Sophie popped on her running trainers in 2020 when she joined a member of Mencap's Learning Disability Running Team for the first 1.5 miles of their Virtual London Marathon in the pouring rain.

sophie on horseback© Getty


Sophie showed a shared passion for her niece Zara Tindall's love of horses in 2003 when she was seen on horseback at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire during The Royal Windsor Horse Show wearing cream jodhpurs and a tan tweed jacket.

DISCOVER: Duchess Sophie's unexpected feathered wedding guest look before Prince Edward nuptials 


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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