Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 54, was born Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones, and grew up to forge her own successful career in public relations. It was during her PR role with Capital Radio when she met Prince Edward, now 55, in 1987. When their paths first crossed, the royal was dating her friend, but years later, in 1993, the pair met again, and began dating soon after. They announced their engagement in 1999, and months later, Sophie joined the Royal Family.
So, has Sophie’s style changed since joining the so-called Firm?
Expert stylist and fashion designer Holly Jade O’Leary has previously styled Princess Eugenie, 29, and Princess Beatrice, 30.
Now, she’s shared her insight into the Countess of Wessex’s style evolution over the years.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: “I would suggest that Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s style has improved considerably.
“Alongside Meghan [Markle], Kate [Middleton], Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, she is a stylish and attractive woman who sets a prime example of showcasing ageless beauty. She favours modest, glamorous outfits and a classical silhouette.”
And, it seems that Sophie has opted for some particular changes to her typical fashion choices since joining the Royal Family.
Holly pointed out: “Since joining the Royal Family she has worn paler colours, wears more height on the heel, and favours a more feminine fit which suits her excellent figure.
“Like the Duchess of Cambridge shows a preference for nude court heels, [Sophie] favours a white shoe which subtly elongates the leg.”
But, it’s not just the clothes that the Countess wears which she has changed as time has gone by – as Holly spotted her make-up routine seemed to be different too.
“Interestingly, what is particularly noticeable about the evolution of Sophie’s style is that as the years have passed she wears less foundation, and lets her glowing, golden and naturally freckled skin show through, showcasing her aquiline features with minimal and defined eye make up, peach blush, bronzer and a warm chestnut lip – a true golden girl,” the stylist said.
Perhaps inspired by Meghan Markle, Sophie has worn sophisticated camel coat and black or brown polo combination
Holly Jade O’Leary
“She shares her brilliant hairdresser, Richard Ward, with the Duchess of Cambridge, and her groomed long hair carries volume, and the renowned ‘Chelsea blow dry’ well.”
The early nineties
As part of her analysis, Holly took a look back at the style choices Sophie made when she first found herself in the spotlight, during the early days of her relationship with Prince Edward.
“Sophie’s style has evolved since 1993, where Sophie wore boxy blazers with large shoulder pads, and hid her figure with dominant corporate colours of the era: red, black, white,” she said.
“Since joining the Royal Family, she tends to favour silk and satin textures which reflect the light, and photograph well – a secret of classical glamour.
“For her wedding in 1999 to Prince Edward, Sophie was gifted a diamond tiara by the Queen, reported to be reconstructed from a set of detachable fleur-de-lis, Maltese cross, and anthemion elements.
“She has worn this romantic gift on many occasions, including several regal European weddings, such as the Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden in 2010, as an ambassador of the throne.”
As the 2010s got well underway, the Countess took on the role of royal patron for London College of Fashion.
And, it seems that this particular job may have had an impact on the style moves that Sophie made.
“Between 2013 to 2016, Sophie, Countess of Wessex became London College of Fashion’s first ever royal patron – joining to support their Make Lives Better Campaign, an ethical commitment to improve wellbeing and build a sustainable future – encouraging responsible sourcing of fabrics, and rehabilitating female offenders by teaching them skills that can be used in the fashion industry,” Holly detailed.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex in pictures
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wife of Prince Edward in pictures.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex in pictures
“Perhaps this contributed to her style evolution, as her figure hugging outfits draw parallels to film star Princess Grace of Monaco, Grace Kelly – wearing elegant shades of cream, shell, pale blue, navy, and black showcasing flawless luxury style.
The modern day
Last year, the royal was pictured arriving with Prince Edward and their children Lady Louise Windsor, 15 , and James, Viscount Severn, 11, at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, for the Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle, 37, and Prince Harry, 34.
“Recently, Sophie, Countess of Wessex showcased her iconic look with a striking, timeless pale grey duchess satin dress by Suzannah, a chic formal designer of occasion wear worn to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018,” Holly commented.
And, the stylist went on to suggest that the Countess may have adopted style tips from the Duchess of Sussex – through the choices of tones she’s been spotted sporting recently.
“More recently, perhaps inspired by Meghan Markle, Sophie has worn sophisticated camel coat and black or brown polo combinations.
“Other designers that she favours include Oscar de la Renta, Pucci, Victoria Beckham, Peter Piletto, Diane Von Furstenberg, Emilia Wickstead and Alexander Mcqueen.
“A great lover of statement jewellery, aquamarine, blue topaz, her interesting jewellery collection features contemporary designers such as Monica Vinader alongside watches by Rolex, and Cartier.
“At 54, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, has great presence and beauty, and showcases the modern luxury fashion of her generation.”
In an unearthed interview, Sophie shared some insight into what their royal life is like – and it may be that Meghan, Prince Harry, and baby Sussex have a similar experience now that they live closeby, in Frogmore Cottage, Windsor.
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