King Charles trusts Duchess Sophie with royal responsibility given to no-one else as she's pictured solo in Italy

The Duchess of Edinburgh made a poignant appearance and is understood to have been the only British royal to attend

King Charles trusts Duchess Sophie. Seen here are the two royals on separate occasions
(Image credit: Future: Image 1: Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty //Image 2: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

King Charles trusted Duchess Sophie with an important royal responsibility he gave to no other member of the Royal Family. 

Even before King Charles ascended to the throne reports had circulated suggesting that he was keen to “streamline” the monarchy’s working members. Since becoming King, however, His Majesty has continued to rely on the existing senior royals, including Duchess Sophie. It’s been suggested that she and the Princess of Wales are a royal duo who are a “force to be reckoned with” and the Duchess of Edinburgh was reportedly like a daughter to the late Queen Elizabeth. 

Now this month it seems King Charles trusted Duchess Sophie with a royal responsibility that no-one else received. Stepping out in Italy on 26th September, the Duchess of Edinburgh attended the state funeral of the former President Giorgio Napolitano in Rome.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh arrives at the Palazzo Montecitorio

(Image credit: Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s understood that not only did Duchess Sophie attend solo, but that she was there representing King Charles and the Royal Family. Whether or not she was officially there on behalf of His Majesty, if the Duchess of Edinburgh was the only British royal there, she was, in effect, representing the family with her public appearance. 

Earlier this year Princess Anne represented His Majesty at the funeral of their second cousin, King Constantine of Greece, in Athens. Meanwhile, a member of the extended Royal Family - Lady Gabriella Knighton  - represented Prince William. It’s not rare for this to happen given the huge demands on the monarch and heir to the thrones’ time and they have so many responsibilities to manage. 

However, the Duchess of Edinburgh being the only one to go to Italy this month perhaps highlights her role as a highly respected senior member of the Royal Family. 

King Charles and Duchess Sophie attend Royal Ascot 2022

(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)
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Earlier this year Duchess Sophie was granted a title Queen Camilla never used and King Charles’ sweet exchange with her at the Commonwealth Day Service 2023 really caught fans’ attention. The monarch and his sister-in-law have often been pictured laughing and chatting together in public over the years. Meanwhile, the BBC’s former royal correspondent Jennie Bond previously expressed her belief to OK! that Sophie is “key” as a working royal, just like the Princess of Wales.

She said, "It is so much more evident now that Catherine and Sophie are key members of the list of working royals. At Buckingham Palace garden party, we saw them taking their place as senior members of the family.” 

King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh watch an RAF flypast

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

"I think people have really taken Sophie to their hearts in the past few years, especially after she showed her obvious grief at losing Prince Philip and Queen [Elizabeth],” Jennie declared. “Her evident closeness with them was so much more than a bond, it looked like a deep affection for her in laws.”

Given her recent appearance in Italy representing the Royal Family, it seems like the popular Duchess of Edinburgh continues to be a "key" working royal supporting King Charles as she did Queen Elizabeth.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!