Prince Edward Reportedly Requested the ‘Earl of Wessex’ Title Because of This ’90s Film

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Prince Edward.
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Talk about a serious movie fan. Turns out that Prince Edward's “Earl of Wessex” title was actually requested by the royal himself, due to his love for the Best Picture-winning film Shakespeare in Love (1998).

In a story published by The Telegraph in 2010, they revealed Prince Edward felt drawn to the title when he saw the romantic comedy. “Prince Edward was going to be the Duke of Cambridge, but he watched the film Shakespeare in Love, which had a character called the Earl of Wessex,” an insider told reporter Richard Eden.

edward hero
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When Prince Edward and his wife Sophie tied the knot in 1999, the late Queen Elizabeth II offered them the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (which would end up going to Prince William and Kate Middleton for years, until King Charles's ascension to the throne). But, Prince Edward had other ideas.

So, Prince Edward became the Earl of Wessex and Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones was named the Countess of Wessex. However, when Charles III became king, he bestowed the titles of Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh upon them—a thoughtful move, given that Prince Philip had been the Duke of Edinburgh for most of his life.

Interestingly enough, while Prince Edward may have loved the choice of “Earl of Wessex,” it was not historically accurate in Shakespeare in Love.

In fact, the time period of the film is over 500 years after the last Earl of Wessex, Harold Godwinson, died in 1066. The title would not exist again until it was given to Prince Edward in ’99 as a courtesy title.

Prince Edward.
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Either way, we loved the choice, Prince Edward.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...