Prince Edward rejected this royal title because of his love of Colin Firth's character in a '90s rom-com

Prince Edward rejected this royal title used by Prince William because of his love of a 90s rom-com

Prince Edward rejected this royal title
(Image credit: Future: Image 1: Dan Mullan / Staff/ Getty //Image 2: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Contributor/ Getty)

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie tied the knot in 1999 and were given the titles of Earl and Countess of Wessex by the Queen. However, this wasn't the first choice for the Prince.


Ahead of Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton in 2011, discussions within Buckingham Palace were taking place about which royal titles the newly married royal couple would use.

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2010, royal author and historian Kenneth Rose, explained that although William and Kate ultimately received the title 'the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,' the couple were not the first choice for the titles.  

"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," said the royal courtier. "He liked the sound of it and asked the Queen if he could have that instead."

In the 1998 film, Shakespeare in Love, Colin Firth plays the antihero Lord Wessex who is betrothed to Gwyneth Paltrow's character Viola and tries to steal her away from the lead character, Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare.

It appears that Prince Edward was such a fan of this '90's period drama that he decided to opt for the lesser title the Earl of Wessex instead of accepting a Dukedom. 

Colin Firth

Colin Firth as Lord Wessex

(Image credit: Universal)

When Prince Edward married his wife Sophie in 1999, the film was a huge success and had just won seven Oscar awards, including best picture.

For the last 22 years, the couple has been happy with their titles the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children Louise and James have used the informal titles Lady and Viscount since they were children.

The couple's eldest daughter Lady Louise Windsor turned 18  on Monday, November 9, 2021, which means that she now has the ability to choose a different royal title. As one of the Queen's eight grandchildren, Louise can choose to go by the title 'Princess'. Although her parents are confident that the young royal will continue to not have a title, the decision rests entirely with the young adult.