Edward and Sophie embrace in silver wedding anniversary portrait

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are celebrating their silver wedding anniversary, marking 25 years of married life with an affectionate new portrait.

Edward is pictured with his arms around Sophie’s waist, with the duchess’s hands resting on her husband’s, and their heads close together.

The couple are dressed down in the relaxed shot taken by photographer Chris Jelf in the gardens of their Bagshot Park home in Surrey, with Sophie’s tan suede jacket complementing the colour of Edward’s tweed gilet.

Edward and Sophie photographed to mark their silver wedding anniversary
Edward and Sophie photographed to mark their silver wedding anniversary (Chris Jelf/Buckingham Palace/PA)

In March, Sophie surprised Edward with a tearful tribute ahead of his 60th birthday, taking to the stage in Leeds to call him  “the best of fathers, the most loving of husbands” and “still my best friend”.

In a television interview, Edward described his wife as his “rock”, adding: “I’m incredibly lucky that I found Sophie and that she found me.”

Edward is the youngest of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s four children, and the only one not to have got divorced.

Edward and his bride Sophie Rhys-Jones on their wedding day
Edward and his bride, Sophie Rhys-Jones, on their wedding day in June 1999 (John Stillwell/PA)

He married Sophie Rhys-Jones in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on June 19 1999, in a continental-style evening service where guests were told not to wear hats.

The couple became the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Edward said ahead of the nuptials: “We manage to have a good laugh about things most of the time, and we happen to love each other, which is the most important thing of all.”

Romance blossomed when Edward and public relations professional Sophie met at a real tennis event in the early 1990s.

Order of the Garter Service 2024
The couple at the Order of the Garter celebrations on Monday (Chris Jackson/PA)

They now have two children, Lady Louise Windsor, 20, and 16-year-old James – the Earl of Wessex.

Edward and Sophie have become a key part of the slimmed-down working monarchy, following the stepping down of the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York, the King’s accession, and amid Charles and the Princess of Wales’s cancer diagnoses.

Aside from the Prince of Wales, and Kate, who is continuing her treatment, Edward, 60, and Sophie, 59, are the youngest members of the working monarchy.

King Charles III coronation
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh with other members of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony on Coronation Day (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Charles handed his youngest brother his late father’s Duke of Edinburgh title on his 59th birthday in 2023, in keeping with the late Queen and Philip’s wishes.

Philip’s desire for Edward to one day have the title was in recognition of his son’s decades-long commitment to his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the youth scheme which is one of Philip’s greatest legacies.

Sophie’s journey to motherhood was a traumatic and dangerous one.

Her daughter, Lady Louise, was born several weeks prematurely in 2003 when Sophie was rushed to hospital for an emergency Caesarean section.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex with baby
Edward and Sophie leaving Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey with their baby daughter Lady Louise Windsor (Johnny Green/PA)

Two years earlier, she suffered a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.

The duchess once had a job at Capital Radio and continued working in PR when she married.

But problems arose when she tried to combine her life as a royal with her professional career.

She was caught in a Fake Sheikh sting and accused of trying to use her status to promote her business.

The then Earl and Countess of Wessex meeting Pearly Kings and Queens during the 2002 Golden Jubilee year
The then-Earl and Countess of Wessex meeting Pearly Kings and Queens during the 2002 Golden Jubilee year (PA)

The “Sophiegate” newspaper controversy was hugely damaging, resulting in reports of indiscreet remarks about a string of public figures including Tony and Cherie Blair, and William Hague.

It led to a lengthy inquiry into how working royals should be regulated.

Edward, who dropped out of the Royal Marines in 1987, was the first child of a sovereign to actively pursue their own career.

He set up his own film and TV production company, Ardent Productions, in 1990, but faced criticism over claims that he used official royal trips abroad, funded by taxpayers, to drum up business for his firm.

Entertainment – Grand Knockout Tournament – Prince Edward – Alton Towers
Prince Edward at Alton Towers Theme Park in preparation for the filming of the Grand Knockout Tournament (PA)

He also organised a televised royal version of It’s A Knockout in 1987 and persuaded the Princess Royal and Duke and Duchess of York to dress up in medieval costumes and perform slapstick feats for the TV game show.

Edward also enraged his brother, the then-prince of Wales, when Ardent was found filming at St Andrews University, in breach of a media agreement, shortly after Prince William began studying there.

In Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee year of 2002, Edward and Sophie finally announced that they would be quitting their businesses to become full-time royals.

The duchess, who was close to her mother-in-law the late Queen, has been hailed for her royal fashion style.

Changing of the Guard
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, on behalf of the King, watching the Changing the Guard to mark the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale (Victoria Jones/PA)

She also cycled 445 miles from the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in 2016, as part of her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Diamond Challenge.

In April, the duchess became the first member of the royal family to visit Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.

She met President Volodymyr Zelensky and First Lady Olena Zelenska to discuss how to support survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.