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Relationships

The strict rule the Queen broke for her “favourite” royal

Queen Elizabeth’s affection for her daughter-in-law, Sophie, is widely known. 

The former PR agent Sophie Rhys-Jones married into the royal family to Her Majesty’s youngest son, Prince Edward, in 1999. 

They have both forged a close relationship together, even in the early years of Sophie dating Prince Edward. 

So close in fact, the Queen actually allowed her future daughter-in-law to stay inside Buckingham Palace before her engagement to the royal’s son was announced. 

It is a strict rule the 93-year-old monarch didn’t waver from for any of the royal brides to come before, including Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. 

"The Countess is a favourite with the Queen," Ingrid Seward wrote for The Telegraph.

The Queen recognised that Sophie was a suitable match for her youngest son, Seward wrote. 

"To assist the slow-burning romance, the Queen took the unprecedented step of allowing Sophie a royal pass to enter Buckingham Palace and stay overnight in the royal apartments if she wished."

Sophie can often be seen standing by her mother-in-law’s side and more recently spent more time with the monarch at Balmoral then the majority of the royal family. 

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, as well as their children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn,  travelled into the Scottish Highlands for more than a week. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, spent just three days at the estate. 

Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and their parents Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew were also there for a short period of time. 

"It is usually Sophie whom the Queen asks to share her car when she is being driven on non‑official occasions," Seward wrote.

"Over the years, the Queen's support and affection have boosted her confidence, and the bond between them is being keenly observed in royal circles."

Queen Elizabeth also helped prepare her daughter-in-law for her life as a royal, a gift she didn’t afford to Princess Diana or Fergie. 

"The Princess of Wales and Duchess of York only discovered how difficult royal life could be after they were engaged and already en route to the altar," Seward wrote in Prince Edward: A Biography.

"Sophie was being given a careful and subtle introduction, a fact which did not escape the notice of Diana and Sarah."

Scroll through the gallery above to see the Queen with one of her “favourite” royals. 

"Both would later complain (with more than an edge of resentment in their voices) that they had received no such help as they struggled to get to terms with their new situation."