The engagement between Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, a public relations executive, was announced on 6 January 1999 and Edward presented his new fiancee with a two-carat oval diamond ring flanked by two heart-shaped gemstones set in 18-carat white gold. The couple first met at a tennis charity event in 1993 and began dating shortly thereafter.
The wedding took place on 19 June 1999 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle since the couple wanted a less formal event. Upon his marriage, Edward was created a hereditary peer as Earl of Wessex with the subsidiary title of Viscount Severn, and the Queen declared he would be elevated to Duke of Edinburgh when the title reverted to the Crown. It was also agreed Edward and Sophie’s future children would not be given royal titles, adopting instead the relevant ranking of an earl’s children.
Sophie’s wedding gown was full-length hand-dyed silk organza and silk crepe, with long sleeves, rows of pearls and crystal beading around the neck, sleeves and train. The silk tulle veil was held in place with a diamond tiara from the Queen’s private collection, and Sophie also wore a black-and-white pearl necklace, and a matching pair of drop earrings, designed by Prince Edward as a wedding gift.