Sophie loves listening to the Queen talk about great historical events, and the pair are sometimes gone for hours, poring over ancient documents in the Royal Archives, which are kept at Windsor Castle Edward is understood to have been furious when the change was made in 2012, and so was his brother Andrew on behalf of his party-going daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, whose round-the-clock protection was also cut.'It meant they could live life as an ordinary family, which is how she was brought up in Kent.Sophie is at her most content when she is driving the children to school in her blue Jaguar and picking them up again at teatime.'Most significantly — as the Queen approaches her 90th birthday this spring — the closer she becomes to Sophie, the more she depends on her.
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Such an effervescent glow could hardly be entirely attributed to the many hours she puts in doing Pilates or the five-mile runs she does twice a week with a personal trainer — though she is clearly pleased that she is slimmer now than she was four years ago.
For the first time since she married Prince Edward in 1999, blonde Sophie has been able to feel completely free at last from the ludicrous millstone — which she hated — of being talked up as the apparent natural successor to Princess Diana.
In addition, the excitement of a second child for the Duchess of Cambridge has helped push Sophie, also a mother of two, even more to the margins of public life and inevitable scrutiny.
Some royal figures might have viewed this as a crisis — but for Sophie, according to a close friend, it was 'positively liberating'.'She is trusted and relied on by the Queen in a way I couldn't say applied to the Duchess of Cambridge or the Duchess of Cornwall,' says a royal aide.
'She is like another daughter to Her Majesty, they are that close.'And with such closeness comes confidence.