As the dust starts to settle following the bombshell announcement that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry would step back as senior royal family members, we’re finally getting some clarity on some of our burning questions.
Logistically, Harry and Meghan’s choice to step back will leave questions about the regular royal engagements they’ve been known to partake in.
According to the stats, Prince Harry attended 201 engagements in 2019 alone – but naturally, as he steps back, we’re about to see this shrink considerably.
So how will the Palace remedy the gap? Well, it looks like a plan is already well underway.
You might have noticed a certain royal family member pop up in your news feeds this week – and she just so happened to be getting along wonderfully with Kate Middleton.
Indeed we are of course speaking about Sophie, Countess of Wessex and wife to Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Like a well-placed puzzle piece, Sophie slotted into royal life seamlessly when she married Edward in 1999.
Working quietly at numerous engagements in the background, Sophie has always been something of a royal underdog when it comes to royal engagements. A constant in the royal fold, Sophie has been right at the Queen’s side through thick and thin.
She was there last year when the Prince Andrew scandal broke, sitting alongside Queen Elizabeth as the pair drove to her regular Sunday service in Balmoral. Sophie was also there on Christmas Day, seamlessly impressing an air of wholesomeness and stability onto royal watchers as she left the church with her family alongside Kate, William, and the royal children.
And most recently, you’ll have no doubt seen her attend a glitzy Buckingham Palace reception this week – with Kate and William once again. The reception, held on Sophie’s 55th birthday, was held to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit.
In an image shared by Kensington Royal, the official Instagram account William, and Kate, Sophie is seen at complete ease, laughing and chatting to Kate Middleton as Edward watches on.
And it was with this one image that things seemed crystal clear when it comes to the royal family’s future.
As Meghan and Harry step back from their royal duties, there’s undoubtedly going to be a thirst for the colorful anecdotes and displays we’ve so regularly come to see from the two prominent family members.
That’s why, with Kate and William already being front and center (they will be the future King and Queen Consort after all…), it seems only natural that Sophie and Edward slot into the bigger royal picture subtly.
And the wheels already seem to be in motion for more. Sophie has another significant engagement this week – a short tour of Sierra Leone.
The royal will take a two day trip to West African country, partaking in several engagements that will focus on addressing sexual and gender-based violence, as well as supporting survivors and putting the spotlight on how women are building and will continue to build peace.
The Countess has always been rather progressive in her fashion choices (read: at Royal Ascot this year, she opted for a chic jumpsuit – something women had been banned from doing at the prestigious racing event until very recently).
At the Palace reception on Monday evening, the royal also subtly managed to mesh with Kate, wearing a beautifully fitted red dress featuring a delicate shell-cut sleeve. Kate’s sparkling red Needle and Thread gown was a showstopper in itself, and together, the two royal women made a statement.
With this in mind, there’s no doubt that Sophie and her husband are well up to the task of stepping into the much-loved shoes of Harry and Meghan. Stay tuned – we might well have a brand new Fab Four on our hands.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love