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Prince Edward and Sophie make public debut with new royal titles

Prince Edward turned 59 on Friday

prince edward sophie wessex edinburgh
Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
March 10, 2023
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Prince Edward and wife Sophie Wessex have thanked the Scottish people for their genorosity to Ukrainian refugees as they made their first outing as the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

King Charles bestowed the title onto his younger brother as the Duke marked his 59th birthday. Edward and Sophie undertook their first official engagement by speaking with refugees at a reception in Edinburgh's City Chambers on the Royal Mile, where he reassured them it would be made as "welcoming as possible".

WATCH: King Charles gives Prince Edward new royal title

"I hope you can all try to make Scotland and Britain your home for as long you feel that you need to stay here and we will try to make it as welcoming and as safe as possible for you," he told them. "I wish you all the very best in the future and we're thinking of you."

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Edward movingly spoke with refugees at the Centre, expressing his sadness that the war was still going on after a year, and asking one whether she had been able to keep in touch with family back in Ukraine.

He later added: "Thank you for welcoming us to Edinburgh today on, indeed, a very special and very overwhelming day for now my wife and Duchess. I also want to express my thanks to everybody who has worked so hard to make our Ukrainian friends so welcome."

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex with Ukrainian refugee

Edward and Sophie met with refugees

The Duke of Edinburgh was given a birthday gift during his visit and treated to a music from a Ukrainian choir who sang a traditional Ukrainian song and their version of Happy Birthday.

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The trip ended with a rendition of the Ukrainian national anthem played on bagpipes and Edward and Sophie were presented with sunflowers by ten-year-old, who wore the country's national dress.

Earlier in the day, he and Sophie had greeted well-wishers along the Royal Mile, including tourists from Washington D.C. During the trip, they also met with the Lord Provost of Edinburgh Robert Aldridge and members of the City of Edinburgh Council, including leader Cammy Day.

Sophie Wessex walking through a crowd

Crowds greeted the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh

Prince Philip and the Queen had both wanted Edward to one day become the Duke of Edinburgh, due to his work with the Duke of Edinburgh awards. It had been expected that Edward would have the title bestowed onto him following the death of the Queen, but instead he waited for six months.

Edward has kept his Scottish title of the Earl of Forfar, while his previous title, the Earl of Wessex, has transferred onto his son, James.

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