Prince Edward's 'informal' gesture at wedding to Sophie Wessex reveals royal's 'cheeky' personality

Prince Edward famously winked before exchanging his marriage vows with Sophie Wessex at the couple's royal wedding in 1999

Prince Edward's wink at wedding to Sophie Wessex reveals 'cheeky' personality
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Edward’s 'informal gesture' at his wedding to Sophie Wessex revealed the royal’s 'cheeky' personality, a body language expert has revealed. 

Prince Edward made an ‘informal gesture’ at his wedding to Sophie Wessex that reflected his ‘cheeky’ persona, a body language expert has revealed. 

The youngest of Queen Elizabeth II's children married the former PR consultant at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor in June 1999, six years after the couple first started dating. The nuptials was notably less formal than those of more senior royals, with no military or ceremonial state officials present and no politicians invited to the high-profile event. 

To make things even more casual, Sophie even requested that guests follow a dress code of evening attire rather than the court dress historically favored at royal weddings. As such, ladies were asked to wear cocktail gowns without hats, and men were advised to arrive in their best morning suits. 

This laid-back attitude was further reflected in Edward’s behavior during the televised special ceremony, which was refreshingly relaxed for a royal groom. One photograph from the 45-minute-long service appears to show the Earl of Wessex winking at Sophie before they said their 'I do's', much to the amusement of the congregation of 500 witnesses and the 200 million viewers watching around the world. 

Sophie and Prince Edward

(Image credit: Getty)

According to body language expert Judi James, Prince Edward’s ‘cheeky’ message to  Sophie had a dual purpose. 

"His wink as she walked up the aisle was a slightly cheeky gesture of reassurance and admiration or approval, that looks as though it also doubled as a way of relaxing her nerves," she told, after noting that the prince "clearly revelled in the attention and royal ceremony of his wedding day." 

After they tied the knot, the newly-appointed Earl and Countess of Wessex walked outside the chapel to greet the 8,000 members of the public waiting to share their good wishes. The newlyweds ignored requests from photographers to kiss for the cameras, opting to smile and wave instead before heading to their wedding reception at Windsor Castle

Sophie and Edward

(Image credit: Getty)

Edward's wink at Sophie may seem incongruent with the prince's current public persona, but at the time, it wasn't exactly out of character. 

"The winking might look like an extraordinarily informal gesture from a Prince who now keeps a much lower and even slightly diffident profile these days," James explained. 

"But back in the day, he was known as being the Prince who wanted a career in the performing arts and who organized the infamous 'It’s A Royal Knockout' to try to show the lighter, more playful side of the Royal Family."

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.