The Daily Telegraph
Countess’s tears betrayed the special bond she shared with ‘Mama’
Sophie and Queen Elizabeth sought solace in each other through periods of personal loss
When senior members of the Royal family inspected floral tributes at Balmoral, it was clear from their expressions of grief just how deeply the death of Queen Elizabeth II had affected them.
The Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal all appeared overwhelmed by the loss of their mother and by the outpouring of public sympathy.
But it was the Countess of Wessex whose tearful display of grief betrayed the extra special bond she shared with the monarch.
Often described as the “Queen’s favourite”, Sophie’s relationship with her flourished over the years with both women helping each other through periods of personal loss.
When the Countess’s own mother died in 2005, the Queen provided her with much needed support and solace.
Last year following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, it was Sophie to whom the Queen turned, with royal insiders describing her daughter-inlaw as being like “a rock”.
Living just 10 miles away from Windsor Castle at Bagshot Park, the Countess would visit the Queen regularly, becoming the closest of confidantes.
When her busy diary did not allow her to visit in person, she made sure she spoke to the Queen by telephone daily.
Once coronavirus restrictions were eased, it was the Countess who would often join the Queen for walks around the Windsor estate.
The Countess was the first member of the Royal family to speak publicly about the death of Prince Philip, a sign – according to experts – of the level of trust and affection with which she had come to be regarded.
Their relationship became so close that Sophie began referring to the
‘Their bond is very much like a mother and daughter and the feeling of love and respect is quite mutual’
Queen as “Mama”. Speaking after the Duke of Edinburgh died in April last year at the age of 99, one royal source emphasised the closeness of the bond between the pair.
“Sophie cherishes her relationship with the Queen and not only appreciates her guidance and wisdom throughout her own life, she is very protective of her.
“Their bond is very like a mother and daughter and the feeling of love and respect is quite mutual. It is very special,” the source said.
The pair were said to also share a number of common interests, including military history, a love of horses and a passion for the countryside.
The Countess has also become one of the hardest working but least fussy members of the Royal family.
She has become the patron to more than 70 charities and attends about 200 engagements across the country each year.
Sophie’s journey from middle class public relations girl, who worked on campaigns for Mr Blobby of Noel’s House Party fame, and Thomas the Tank Engine, to one of the Royal family’s safest pair of hands has not always been smooth sailing.
In 2001, while still running her own public relations business, she was left deeply embarrassed when a sting operation by the News of the World captured her being indiscreet about politicians and other royals.
The following year she wound up her business interests, and, along with her husband, began to focus full-time on royal duties.
Regarded as hard-working and down to earth, the Countess is known to drive herself to and from events and engagements by car.
In 2015 the Queen showed her appreciation when she held a reception to mark the Earl and Countess’s 50th birthdays. The Countess’s role as trusted confidante to the monarch became even more important in recent years when Prince Andrew was forced to step back from royal duties and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left Britain for a new life in North America.