Why You Rarely Hear About The Queen's Youngest Son

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She held the throne since 1952, succeeding her father, King George VI, after his death. She was officially crowned queen the following year and remained on the throne for 70 years, and was able to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee a few months before her death on September 8, 2022. At her coronation, she was already a mother of two. Prince Charles was born in 1948 and then Princess Anne was born in 1950, whom she had with her husband Prince Philip. The couple would have a total of four children together. About a decade after their only daughter's birth, she gave birth to her second son, Prince Andrew, in 1960. About four years later, she had their fourth and last child, their third son, Prince Edward, who was born in 1964.

King Charles III ascended the throne upon his mother's death, and had always been expected to do so as Prince of Wales. As a result, he has always been one of the most visible members of the family. But what of his siblings? Princess Anne was quite the royal. She appeared in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, was married twice, and even made some noise due to an affair (via Elle). She's recently been pretty quiet, but from time to time makes headlines, per a CNN article, and has been a lot more visible since her mother's death. Her younger brother Andrew, on the other hand, has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years due to sexual assault allegations and his connection to Jeffrey Epstein (via NBC). But what about Edward?

Why we don't see Prince Edward

Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, has not quite grabbed as many headlines as his older siblings. He is the last child, there's a huge age gap between him and his two oldest siblings (Charles and Anne), and he hasn't really experienced any controversy. So why is he rarely heard about?

For starters, after completing his studies at Cambridge in 1986, he went to serve in the Royal Marines. His service, however, was short-lived, as his heart was truly somewhere else. In 1987, he made headlines for quitting his marine post to pursue performing arts instead, The Guardian reported. He ended up in television production and even created his own production company called Ardent Productions in 1993 (via The Royal Family). 

He did grab some attention in 1999, when he wed Sophie Rhys-Jones (who became Countess of Wessex) in a small-scale ceremony, per Town and Country Magazine. The two would have the first royal wedding after Princess Diana's shocking death two years earlier. Per Britannica, he and his wife have two children together: a daughter named Louise and a son named James. His love for the arts glaringly presented itself when it came to the royal title that both he and his wife have. Per Woman and Home, Prince Edward was a major fan of the '90s film "Shakespeare in Love." In the movie, actor Colin Firth plays a character named Lord Wessex, and the prince became obsessed with the name. 

Prince Edward's slow return to the public light

Despite that not being the title he and his wife were supposed to have, the queen granted him the new name change. He and his wife were initially supposed to be a duke and duchess (via Woman and Home). So not only did he not want any royal jobs, he also didn't want titles. 

According to The Guardian, his television career came to an end in 2002, but he continued to stay out of the limelight. In 2017, that all changed. Prince Edward, who had rarely performed any royal duties since his controversial military departure, ended that streak when his father Prince Philip retired. After a half-century of service, the late prince chose to absolve himself of his duties (via ABC News). Those tasks were then passed on to his youngest son Edward, who took over most of his father's responsibilities. He is currently 13th in the line of succession, per BBC. His son, James, is right behind him as the 14th, and his daughter the 15th. Despite being younger than Princess Anne, he and his two children precede her in succession to the throne because he is a male child (the older rules of succession were changed in 2013, however, and the line of succession now follows birth order, and not sex, for children born 2011 or later). 

Prince Edward is not as well-known as other royals even with more presence, but has been slightly more visible since the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.