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HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Colonel-in-Chief of the
Lincoln and Welland Regiment

A Short Bio by Kevin Patterson
On September 15th, 2012 HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex is scheduled to visit the Niagara Region. In her role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, she will be taking part in the presentation of new Regimental Colours at Queenston Heights. The Garrison Community Council of Niagara has been asked to assist in the preparations for the visit including co-ordinating a VIP Reception

Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones was born on January 20 th, 1965 at Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, the second child and first daughter of Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones and his wife, Mary. During her early years the Rhys-Jones family moved from Wales to Brenchley, Kent. It is here where Sophie began her education at Dulwich Preparatory School, before moving on to Kent College, Pembury.

She launched into a career in public relations, gaining experience with a variety of firms, including four years at Capital Radio, where she was assigned to the press and promotions department, as well as public relations companies The Quentin Bell Organisation and MacLaurin Communications & Media. Sophie also worked as a ski representative in Switzerland and spent a year travelling and working in Australia before starting her own public relations agency, RJH Public Relations, in 1996.

In September 1993 Sophie met Prince Edward (the youngest son of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh) at a charity event held at the Queen’s Tennis Club in aid of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Their six year relationship began soon afterwards. The engagement of Sophie Rhys-Jones and Prince Edward was announced on January 6th 1999. Their wedding took place on June 19th of the same year at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. This was a departure from the weddings of Edward's older siblings, which were larger and more formal events. On their wedding day, the Queen created her son Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn (the latter reflecting the origins of Sophie's family in the Welsh border country). Thus Sophie took on the style "Her Royal Highness" "The Countess of Wessex". The Earl and Countess have two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Like her mother-in-law, The Queen, the countess has shown an interested in military history. The Countess of Wessex was appointed colonel-in-chief of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment on Oct. 13, 2004 which was the same date Sir Isaac Brock fell during the Battle of Queenston Heights in 1812. She is also the first person to hold the appointment in the over 200 year history of the Niagara based regiment. Only members of the Royal Family may be appointed Colonel-in-Chief and some of them have held an appointment for decades. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has been Colonel-in-Chief of the 48th Highlanders of Canada and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada for more than 60 years. Each Colonel-in-Chief is the head of a regimental family that is at the heart of the Canadian military structure.