The King and I! Charles enjoys a touching moment with his sister-in-law Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh during the Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey
- Duchess of Edinburgh was seen bumping King Charles and beaming at him
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King Charles was seen enjoying a sweet moment with his sister-in-law Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh as they attended the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey today.
Sophie, 58, who received her new title last week, alongside her husband Prince Edward, 59, who became the Duke of Edinburgh, appeared delighted as she spotted the monarch.
Video footage of the pair shows the Duchess beaming as she approaches her brother-in-law, who turns around to greet her.
They appear to share a friendly word, before Sophie turns sideways, and gently bumps Charles with her hips and shoulder.
After making the affectionate gesture, Sophie then moves away, smiling and looking slightly sheepish.
Sophie, who is believed to be one of the most popular members of the Firm, appeared delighted to see her brother-in-law King Charles at the Commonwealth service today (pictured L-R: Prince Edward, King Charles, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh)
Senior royals were out in force for today’s service, which marked a poignant milestone, as it was the first time the event has taken place since the Queen’s death in September.
Among those in attendance were the King and Queen Consort, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and Princess Anne.
During the service, the King issued a rallying call to the family of nations urging them to ‘strive together’ to achieve a ‘global common good’ in his first Commonwealth Day address.
In his speech, Charles highlighted the institution’s ‘indispensable role in the most pressing issues of our time’.
He also paid tribute to his ‘beloved mother’, describing how Commonwealth Day was a moment of pride for the late Queen Elizabeth who ‘dedicated her long and remarkable life’ in service to the ‘Commonwealth family’.
For his speech the King drew on the Commonwealth Day theme for 2023 – Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future – and emphasised the values of the family of nations from ‘peace and justice’ to ‘care for our environment’ embodied in the Commonwealth Charter, signed 10 years ago.
He told the congregation: ‘Whether on climate change and biodiversity loss, youth opportunity and education, global health or economic co-operation, the Commonwealth can play an indispensable role in the most pressing issues of our time.
‘Ours is an association not just of shared values, but of common purpose and joint action.
After sharing a few friendly words with her brother-in-law, Sophie turned to the side, and gently bumped him with her hips in an affectionate gesture (pictured L-R: Prince Edward, King Charles, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh)
Following the affectionate moment, Sophie is seen smiling sheepishly, as she continues her conversation with her husband and brother-in-law (pictured L-R: Prince Edward, King Charles, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh)
‘In this we are blessed with the ingenuity and imagination of a third of the world’s population, including one and a half billion people under the age of 30.
‘Our shared humanity contains an immensely precious diversity of thought, culture, tradition and experience. By listening to each other, we will find so many of the solutions that we seek.’
The King, who is head of the Commonwealth, delivered his address in person from the Abbey’s great pulpit in a move that was a departure from previous messages from the Queen, who sometimes pre-recorded her speech.
He concluded his message by saying: ‘The myriad connections between our nations have sustained and enriched us for more than seven decades. Our commitment to peace, progress and opportunity will sustain us for many more.
The former Countess of Wessex was joined by her husband Prince Edward for the annual service at Westminster Abbey
This is the first Commonwealth Day service that the couple have attended under their new titles of Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh
‘Let ours be a Commonwealth that not only stands together, but strives together, in restless and practical pursuit of the global common good.’
Sophie and her husband Prince Edward’s appearance today marked their first outing alongside other members of the Firm since they were given their new titles.
They were granted the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh titles on March 10, Edward’s 59th birthday.
Sophie’s previous rank as Countess of Wessex, meant she was of an equal rank with her husband Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex.
This raise in royal status for Sophie, 58, is a touching tribute to the late Queen’s daughter-in-law who lovingly called her ‘mama’.
Prince Edward was promoted to Duke of Edinburgh to mark his 59th birthday on Friday, meaning that Sophie is now a Duchess too. The former Countess of Wessex had previously been duty-bound to defer to Prince Harry’s wife (pictured together in 2019) who, as a Duchess, was of a higher rank
Married to Prince Edward for 24 years, she is well known for her down-to-earth nature and was viewed by the late Queen as the Firm’s safest pair of hands.
Meanwhile, friends of Sophie have claimed she is ‘relieved’ that her move up the royal ranks means she no longer needs to curtsey to Meghan Markle.
Sophie had previously been duty-bound to defer to Prince Harry’s wife who, as a Duchess, was of a higher rank.
Relations between the royal wives were said to have become strained when the Duchess of Sussex reportedly turned down the chance to have Sophie mentor her on life as a royal.
A friend of the couple said: ‘Sophie is relieved. She no longer has to curtsey to someone in the family who has not only left Royal duties but has spent the past three years criticising the institution that Sophie works so hard to support.’
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