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Duchess Sophie and Prince Edward's rare bond proved they're perfect for each other

The newly appointed Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh have an unusual hobby in common


edward sophie
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
March 13, 2023
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Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie have been happily married since 1999, following a fateful meeting at Capital Radio in 1987, where Sophie was working.

The couple, who were recently named the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, didn't start dating until 1993, as Edward was romantically involved with a friend of Sophie's at the time, however the duo found they had an unusual hobby in common, which likely sparked their romance.

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex hugging© Photo: Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh have a shared hobby

Reports say that Sophie and Edward, who are parents to Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn, were brought together by a mutual passion for the ancient sport of real tennis.

It's a rather unique hobby in this day and age – only played by around 7,000 people in the world, making Sophie and Edward a match made in heaven, given they are among the few people worldwide who can play the archaic sport.

Real tennis is only played on 40 courts in the world, including one at Hampton Court Palace, which is where we suspect Sophie and Edward play! Other courts are often found at schools or in country manors.

Unlike normal tennis, real tennis is played indoors, with balls more akin to cricket balls. They're handmade and solid, while the rackets used are wooden.

prince edward with a real tennis racket© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Edward with a real tennis racket

Players of real tennis need to be extremely fit, as there are no breaks during play – hence why Duchess Sophie always looks so toned, perhaps?

DISCOVER: Sophie Wessex's day on a plate: The royal's glow-getting breakfast, lunch & dinner

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are likely to be busy in their new roles, meaning there's likely to be less time to play real tennis, and they're not the only family members going through a period of change following their updated titles. Watch the video below to find out why Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie were given their new titles as Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

WATCH: Why did Prince Edward receive a new title as Duke of Edinburgh?

Their 15-year-old son James, Viscount Severn is the new Earl of Wessex, inheriting his father's previous title. However, there has been no change in title for Edward and Sophie's 19-year-old daughter, Lady Louise Windsor.

Why hasn't Lady Louise got a new title?

When Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, the couple were given the title of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and Buckingham Palace said that their children& "would have courtesy titles as sons or daughters of an earl," according to the BBC at the time.

Courtesy titles are only used by the peer's eldest living son, and the eldest son's eldest living son, and so forth. Other descendants are not permitted to use the peer's subsidiary titles.

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex cheering with their children© Photo: Getty Images

James Viscount Severn has a new title, but his sister Lady Louise does not

As a daughter of an Earl, Louise has been styled as Lady since her birth in 2003.

The Dukedom of Edinburgh – which in the past has been hereditary – will not, however, pass down to James when Edward dies.

James will become the Earl of Wessex and Forfar when the title of the Duke of Edinburgh reverts to the Crown, the Palace said.

LISTEN: What Prince William and Kate are really like behind the scenes

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