Sophie, Countess of Wessex paved the way for royals like Kate Middleton with unusual move

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex tied the knot with Prince Edward on June 19, 1999. Kate Middleton joined the family 12 years later when she married Prince William, both 38. The royal ladies have taken a similar approach to life in the family.

Before Sophie became a working royal, she had a career in public relations.

She started dating her future husband in 1993 and the couple announced their engagement six years later.

Sophie did not officially join the Royal Family until 1999 but she gathered interest as soon as she got into a relationship with Edward.

While some royal fans were eager to learn more, Prince Edward released a public statement to ask for their privacy.

It read: “I am taking this unusual step of writing to you directly in the hopes of stopping your reporters and photographers from destroying that part of my life that I am entitled to regard as private and more importantly, Sophie’s life.”

While Prince Edward was the last of his siblings to marry, similar statements had not been issued before any of their weddings.

The Countess of Wessex has been in the public eye and carried out engagements for the last 20 years.

However, she has managed to keep her private life to herself which could have been helped by Prince Edward’s message.

Kate Middleton met Prince William while the pair studied at the University of St Andrews.

After knowing each other for nearly 10 years, the couple announced their engagement in November 2010.

While they were dating, Kate started to gather similar attention from royal fans to what Sophie had dealt with.

This caused Prince William to follow in Edward’s footsteps and release a similar message.

A spokesperson for the Prince said: “Prince William is very unhappy at the paparazzi harassment of his girlfriend. He wants, more than anything, for it to stop.

“Miss Middleton should, like any other private individual, be able to go about her everyday business without this kind of intrusion.”

Although the statements were out of character for royals to make, both Kate and Sophie have managed to stay quiet on their private lives.

Analysing the royal women, body language expert Judi James explained Sophie may have helped the Duchess of Cambridge.

She said: “Sophie is also said to be a close ally of her mother-in-law the Queen and in terms of her body language she tends to blend some of the signals of the kind of laid-back calm and fun that we get from Zara with the stoic, deft formality of the Queen herself.

“This attitude must have made her the perfect royal wife to welcome and induct Kate into the Royal Family, especially in the face of William’s horror of bringing Kate into the same circus that he watched his mother suffer.

“Sophie’s formula does appear to have been copied by Kate too as – so far – she has managed to tread the very fine line of creating interest that is positive but not unmanageable.”

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