Inside William’s bond with the Duchess of Edinburgh: ‘Supportive’ Sophie displays ‘maternal’ pride

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Edinburgh were snapped enjoying another intimate moment together yesterday – the latest in a series of interactions which demonstrate the ‘maternal’ pride ‘supportive’ Sophie has for the heir.

Sophie, 59, is married to 41-year-old Prince William’s uncle Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, 60.

And the mother-of-two seems to share close bonds with many members of the Royal Family.

As well as her famously close bond with the late Queen Elizabeth II, Sophie is also believed to be close to both Kate, the Princess of Wales, 42, and William.

Prince William
Prince William photo

And this closeness was on display yesterday, during the ancient Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Garter Day sees Ladies and Knights of the Order of the Garter – the country’s oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry – process down the hill from the Berkshire castle’s State Apartments to St George’s Chapel, dressed in white plumed hats and dark blue velvet robes, watched by crowds of onlookers.

Sophie was amongst them as composed as ever as she watched the royal procession – including the King, Queen, Prince William and Prince Edward pass by.

As the royals left following the service, William and Sophie were photographed smiling and chatting with each other, appearing to enjoy each other’s company.

This interchange followed a sweet moment the two royals shared two days earlier, during Trooping the Colour.

After the family appeared on the balcony to watch the RAF flypast, Sophie was seen placing a comforting hand on William’s back as they made their way back into the palace.

It followed what may have been an emotional moment for the heir: the day marked his wife Kate making her first public appearance in months, following her revelation that she is currently receiving treatment for cancer.

And his father King Charles is also undergoing cancer treatment.

As Kate and her father-in-law stepped onto the balcony on Saturday, they were met with a supportive roar from the assembled crowds.

Commenting on the moment in a post on X (formerly Twitter) royal commentator Victoria Arbiter described Sophie’s gesture as one of support and comfort.

She wrote: ‘Always on hand to offer her support, The Duchess of Edinburgh was pictured giving Prince William a comforting “you did it” as the royals returned inside following their balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace.’

Despite their reported closeness, William and Sophie have not undertaken many royal engagements as a duo.

However, in June 2023, the two paired up to attend a screening of the documentary Rhino Man.

The film, which was produced by the charity Global Conservation Corps shines a light on field rangers in South Africa who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect rhinos from being poached to extinction.

And the two royals were all smiles as they arrived at the event, which they travelled to together, in a black 4×4.

Analysing the interactions between the pair during the engagement, body language expert Judi James told the Express that there was ‘something terribly poignant’ about seeing William accompanied by Sophie.

This, she said, was down to the ‘look of pride and joy on Sophie’s face’ as she looked at her nephew, which stirred up memories of the prince’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

Judi noted that Prince William ‘never got to make appearances like this with his mother Diana’ and so the public never saw the late royal gazing proudly at her adult son.

She added: ‘Sophie seems to be trying to add a subtle maternal touch to this outing and, with William’s smiles of undisguised delight, it seems to be making a very sweet dynamic here.’

According to Judi, the ‘proud mother/delighted son look’ emitted by the duo was ‘something William deserves’, and she said both looked happy.

‘Sophie watches his face closely and her beaming smile does make her look like an encouraging, proud mum,’ the body language expert concluded.

While that was a rare engagement for just William and Sophie, the two have made a number of appearances as a foursome, joined by their respective partners.

At King Charles’ coronation, the couple were seated in the front row of Westminster Abbey – next to Kate, William, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

And just two days later, the same quartet took the lead at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, which praised volunteers up and down the country.

William’s bond with Sophie is not unexpected: it is known that she has a close relationship with his wife Kate.

Like Sophie, Kate developed a good relationship with the late Queen and Prince Philip.

During the early stages of Kate’s relationship with William, it’s said that Sophie offered her guidance as she began her royal journey, meaning the two women forged a close and lasting alliance.


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