Childhood & Early Life
Prince Edward was born on March 10, 1964 at the Windsor Castle in London, England. He is the fourth and the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
He was home-schooled by a tutor till the age of seven before enrolling into Gibbs School. He then attended the Heatherdown Preparatory School in Berkshire in 1972.
In 1977, he joined Gordonstoun School in Moray, Scotland where bagged the Gold award as a part of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award program. After passing out from school, he spent a gap year teaching English and History at Wanganui Collegiate School in New Zealand.
He then enrolled with the Jesus College, Cambridge where he studied history. His admission into the prestigious college stirred up a controversy as he did not have the required grades to get into the college. However, he passed out in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
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After completing college, Prince Edward joined the Royal Marines as a University Cadet with a sponsorship of £12,000 towards his tuition at Cambridge University. However, within three months of training he decided to quit and pursue his love for theatre.
For his mother’s 60th birthday, Prince Edward authorised the 1986 musical ‘Cricket’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, as a result of which, he got a job of production assistant at Lloyd Webber's ‘Really Useful Theatre Company’.
He worked on musicals such as ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Starlight Express’, and ‘Cats’. It was while working as production assistant that Prince Edward met actress Ruthie Henshall, whom he dated for three years.
‘The Grand Knockout Tournament’ was his first television production and it went on air on 15 June 1987. The show consisted of four teams, each of which was sponsored by him, Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of York. The event was played for charity. However, the programme ended up becoming a spectacle after the media heavily criticised it. It later came to surface that the Queen had fiercely disapproved of it which explains her absence from the event.
In 1993, Prince Edward started his own television production company, Ardent Productions, under the name Edward Windsor. His company created documentaries based on the lives of the British Royal Family. His documentaries however, were slammed by the critics accusing him of using the Royal Family to make money.
The documentaries were comparatively more popular in the United States. The documentary based on his grand-uncle, Edward VIII (the late Duke of Windsor) became very popular across the globe. However, the company did not perform well and suffered heavy losses. In 2002, he finally quit Ardent Productions to concentrate on his duties as a royalty. The company officially dissolved in June 2009.
Since the Duke of Edinburgh was unable to attend to a lot of his duties owing to old age, Prince Edward took on a lot of his responsibilities. He has taken over as the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (vice-patron since 2006) following Prince Philip. He has also assumed the role of a Duke at the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and now attends the Gold Award ceremonies around the world.
He and his wife, Countess of Wessex, started the charity foundation ‘The Wessex Youth Trust’, in 1999. Their charity aims to support registered charities that work towards helping children and young people.
Prince Edward visited Israel in September 2007 as chairman of the International Council of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The award was initiated by his father in an attempt to applaud the youth for completing a series of self-improvement exercises.
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In June 2011, he paid a visit to Living Classrooms Foundation, Baltimore to promote Duke of Edinburgh's Award's programme and to encourage the staff and students to participate in it.
Earl and Countess of Wessex visited Bahrain in December 2011 where the Bahraini royal family and the Prime Minster gifted the royal couple two precious jewels. However, considering the human rights abuse topic being hot in Bahrain, the gifts were highly criticised by people.
In 2013, Prince Edward was appointed as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for 2014 by the Queen.
As an acknowledgement of his contribution towards promotion of Badminton, Prince Edward was awarded the President's Medal by the Badminton World Federation President Poul-Erik Hoyer.
When he visited Ghana in May 2016, he presented the Head of State Awards for the participants of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Scheme.
For the Duke of Edinburgh's Award's diamond anniversary, Prince Edward visited Chile in September 2016 and visited projects by British and Commonwealth Fire and Rescue Company and Chilean-British Culture University.
In October 2017, he and his wife represented the Queen at the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's Accession to the Throne of Brunei.
The royal couple toured Sri Lanka in February 2018 as guests for their 70th Independence Day celebrations in Colombo. Prince Edward went to Australia in April 2018 to be part of the Commonwealth Games. He also attended several fundraising events for those participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award challenges.
Personal Life & Legacy
Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones on 19 June 1999 in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple met in 1994 when Sophie was working as a public relations executive with her own firm.
Their first child, Lady Louise Windsor, was born on 8 November 2003. They welcomed their son James, Viscount Severn, on 17 December 2007. Together, they live at Bagshot Park in Surrey while their office and London residence is based at Buckingham Palace.