Some churchmen criticised the Queen for allowing an unmarried couple to cohabit, but she felt it was of vital importance that Sophie knew exactly what she was letting herself in for.
Philip agreed, and became very fond of the young PR girl.
Two years after her wedding, Sophie, now the Countess of Wessex, found herself in hot water after being duped by the ‘fake sheik’ Mazher Mahmood — an undercover reporter for the now-defunct News of the World — into revealing all kinds of indiscretions about the Royal Family.
Under the mistaken impression that she was courting a client for her PR company, she was recorded mocking the then prime minister — as ‘President Blair’ — and referring to his wife Cherie as ‘horrid, absolutely horrid’. Naturally, Sophie was terrified of what her parents-in-law would say.
The Countess of Wessex has criss-crossed the globe on charity projects over the last year She favours a low-key yet elegant ensemble, with her hair neatly tied around the nape of her neck - as if to stop any fidgeting that might distract from the task at hand.
On her feet are a pair of shoes, nearly always with a sensible low heel.
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Selfless: Sophie, pictured during a visit to Fultola village in Bangladesh, where she observed diabetes and nutrition training provided to rural housewives.
The Countess of Wessex shares her interest and loves listening to her talking about great historical events.
Later, she laughed uproariously as she shared a joke with doctors during a trip to a local medical centre.
While many might struggle through such a busy day, Sophie appeared to breeze through in her typically fuss-free fashion.
In the last month alone she has criss-crossed the globe on a string of royal and charity engagements, both with and without her husband.
Currently she is in the midst of a visit to the Middle East, where she is carrying out work in her role as Patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, one of the dozens of charities she supports.
Since the start of October she has carried out at least 29 engagements - just a handful fewer than William and Harry - without any of the pomp and ceremony that other more high profile royals appear to attract.