‘Sophie is my rock’ says Prince Edward as he marks his 60th birthday

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh embrace following a speech (PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh embrace following a speech (PA)

The Duke of Edinburgh has revealed his wife Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, is his “rock” as he marks his 60th Birthday.

In a rare television interview, Edward told gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh on ITV’s Love Your Weekend programme: “I’m incredibly lucky that I found Sophie and that she found me”.

He and Sophie, 59, have been married since 1999 having met at a promotion shoot for the Prince Edward Summer Challenge two years earlier.

During the interview, Edward also praised his father Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, for being “brilliant with people” even if it sometimes “didn’t necessarily come across that way”.

“He was always, always encouraging everybody,” he said. “You sort of needed to get to know him.

“He was just an extraordinary man. He was the Prince Albert of our age. He had an extraordinary mind. He loved design, he loved innovation.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Edward revealed some of his lasting memories of his father, including teaching his daughter Lady Louise to drive a carriage.

He said: “It was entirely off her own bat… he took her out with the team and I think it was only the second time, he was driving along and he said, ‘Do you want to have a go?’ and she didn’t have time to even answer the question, he just handed the reins across.”

“We’re very lucky, we’ve got two, of what we would think are particularly brilliant children, who are forging such different paths for themselves. I think that’s also equally fascinating,” he added.

Asked about adjusting to his new title, Edward said it had been a “huge privilege” but had also bestowed “quite a lot of weight of expectation as well”.

“I mean, there’s an awful lot of legacy that came with that title and everything that my father had done,” he continued.

“Especially when you’re not inheriting it, this is a choice… that comes with all the expectations that people have.

“It’s just the weirdest and strangest feeling. You walk into a room and, particularly still today, there are name places on a card and I still look around going ‘Yes, but where am I sitting?’.”

In a newspaper interview, Edward said the monarchy is “as important as ever” in “trying to bring people together”.

He told the Daily Mail: “Our role – being part of the monarchy – in trying to bring people together is as important as ever, if not more so today.

The duke carried out a series of engagements with the Duchess of Edinburgh earlier this week, ahead of his milestone birthday.

He was presented with a Leeds Rhinos rugby shirt with “HRH 60” on the back to mark the date, during a visit to Headingley Stadium in Leeds on Friday.

Asked on the programme about Mothering Sunday, Edward said it was “always an important event” when he was growing up.

“Those days were, and these days are really important to remember some very, very special people in our lives,” he said.

“There should be several times in the year when we make a special sort of effort and Mothering Sunday was very much one of those where you made a special effort just to say ‘thank you’.”

– Watch the full interview with Prince Edward, The Duke of Edinburgh on Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh on Sunday 10th March at 9:30am on ITV1 and ITVX.