Paderborn (dpa) – On Monday, billions of people looked at his mother’s funeral in London, four days later the grieving youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II was very close to the people in Germany. In Paderborn, East Westphalia, the prince from the English royal family shakes many hands at the barriers and accepts a rose as a sign of sympathy. All in black, Edward, Count of Wessex, congratulates a newlywed couple on their wedding in front of the Paderborn town hall – with a happy smile on their faces.
What language was spoken? “English”, says the groom happily and speaks of a very special moment. Edward had visited his East Westphalia regiment, the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, before driving to the town hall, where the prince signed the town’s golden book. The public was not admitted to the conversation between the honorary colonel and the British soldiers in Paderborn-Sennelager in the morning. His visit was part of the royal mourning for the late Queen.
Otherwise, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II is rarely in the limelight. His eldest brother Charles, as heir to the throne, has been in the spotlight for decades. As the new king, he is likely to receive even more attention. And brother Prince Andrew, the black sheep of the family because of allegations of abuse, can also be read much more often in the media. In the corona pandemic, Edward’s wife, Countess Sophie, in particular, kept many royal appointments – via video switching. She called for more openness about women’s problems during menopause or chatted, of course with due restraint, about the grief in the family for Queen’s husband Prince Philip. The queen, it was said, was very taken with Sophie.
But now the Earl of Wessex, as Edward’s official title is, has the honor of the first royal trip abroad after the Queen’s death. After the death of his mother, he could have a more important role anyway. Because King Charles III. wants to slim down the royal house. As the conservative tabloid “Daily Express” recently reported, seven royals are said to actively represent the monarchy : in addition to the regent and his queen wife Camilla, these are heir to the throne Prince William and his wife Princess Kate and Princess Anne – and Edward and Sophie.
The couple, who have two children with Lady Louise, 18, and James, 14, known as Viscount Severn, are considered down-to-earth and have been scandal-free for many years. Prince Edward is the only child of the Queen who has not divorced. Sophie comes from a middle-class family, she has long since earned the respect of the royals and is also popular with the population. According to experts, these are exactly the qualities that the royal family needs in order to be accepted as an institution in modern times.
Why Paderborn, why the visit to East Westphalia? Prince Edward’s mother visited Paderborn in 1965, 1977 and 1985 and also signed the city’s Golden Book. Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at the age of 96 at her Scottish country estate, Balmoral Castle. The British founded North Rhine-Westphalia as occupiers after the Second World War. To this day, soldiers are stationed in the federal state – as part of the NATO troops on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest.
On Friday, North Rhine-Westphalia’s state parliament president André Kuper repeated the sentence in connection with the British armed forces: “The occupiers became friends.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220922-99-862119/5