Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Royals in Medals #1: The Earl and Countess of Wessex

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was born on 10 March 1964, the third son, and fourth and youngest child of Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.  He graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge, before joining the Royal Marines as an officer cadet in 1986.  However, he resigned one third of the way through the qualifying course and subsequently concentrated on media interests, until it was felt that these activities were incompatible with his royal status.

In June 1999 he married the PR executive Sophie Rees-Jones.  On the day of their wedding he was granted the titles Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn (with the remainder to the title Duke of Edinburgh on the death of his father).  The couple have two children: Lady Louise Windsor (b. 2003) and James, Viscount Severn (b. 2007).

Honorary Military Appointments

United Kingdom
Here, as Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the earl wears his full rack as at the time of writing (taken at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, 3 June 2012)
Orders, Decorations and Medals

Order of the Garter
Royal Knight (KG), 23 April 2006

Royal Victorian Order
Commander (CVO), 10 March 1989 (25th birthday)
Knight Commander (KCVO), 2 June 2003
Knight Grand Cross (GCVO), 10 March 2011 (another birthday present!)

Saskatchewan Order of Merit
Hon Member (SOM), 11 May 2005

Commemorative Medals
File:Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal ribbon.png  New Zealand Commemorative Medal 1990
SCM ribbon.png  Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan 2005

Long Service Medals

Canadian Forces Medal

Overseas Awards

See Updates below.


Prince Edward and Princess Sophie - Wedding Of Swedish Crown Princess Victoria & Daniel Westling - Arrivals
At the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, 2010


Sophie, Countess of Wessex

Sophie Rhys-Jones, Countess of Wessex Sophie Rhys-Jones, Countess of Wessex arrives at the Opera Garnier Gala Night as part of Monaco's National Day celebrations which this year double as Prince Albert II's Enthronement celebrations, at Opera Garnier on November 19, 2005 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The event is part of the official program of public and private events celebrating the July 12 coronation of Prince Albert II of Monaco, who became head of state after the April death of his father Prince Rainier.Sophie Helen Rees-Jones was born on 1965 in Oxford.  After education in independent schools and secretarial college, she entered the public relations industry, eventually becoming a partner in her own firm.  She quite her business interests in 2002 following a series of incidents in which her use of royal status was brought into question.

She is reported to be very close to the Queen (though this may be due to judicious PR-ery).  Certainly her appointment straight into the Royal Victorian Order as a Dame Grand Cross would be an indication of some favour.

Honorary Military Appointments  

United Kingdom
Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps
Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of Army Music
Royal Colonel of the 5th Battalion The Rifles
Honorary Air Commodore Royal Air Force Wittering
Ship's Sponsor of HMS Daring
Colonel-in-Chief of the South Alberta Light Horse
Colonel-in-Chief of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment

File:Sophie, Countess of Wessex, shakes hands with Brig Gen Thomas Deale at Kandahar Airfield.jpg
A rare picture of the Countess in uniform, she wears the insignia of an Air Commodore during a visit to Kandahar Air Base, 2011

Orders, Decorations and Medals


Royal Victorian Order
Dame Knight Grand Cross (GCVO), January 2010.


Most Venerable Order of St John
Dame of Justice, 2005

Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, 2004

Commemorative Medals

Earl of Wessex in Barbados
Wearing an unknown medal (Golden Jubilee Medal?) while on jubilee duties in Barbados, Feb 2012
Long Service Medals

Canadian Forces Medal

Update - Oct 2012

Edward holds a medal of the Principality of Monaco, which he wore at the July 2011 wedding of Prince Albert II.

This is probably a commemorative for Prince Albert's enthronement in 2005, which the Earl and Countess attended as representatives of the Queen.  It is possible that the Countess also holds this medal.

Update - Oct 2017

TRHs represented the Queen at the celebrations of the Sultan of Brunei's Golden Jubilee in the first week of October 2017, and were each awarded the Sultan's Golden Jubilee Medal.

The Earl attended the Silver Jubilee ceremonies 25 years ago, and wears the Silver Jubilee Medal at the end of his rack.  As some stage (which I missed), he was also awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration, as was the Countess.


  1. Unbelievable amount of medals for someone who has never served in any of the forces or conflict

  2. Unbelievable amount of medals for someone who has never served in any of the forces or conflict

  3. Thanks for the brief yet valuable information Prince Edward. I’m working on my assignment on the royal family. I spent the day attending a relative’s wedding at one of the nearby San Francisco venues and now I’m worried if I will be able to complete the assignment by tomorrow.


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