Royals

As Meghan steps away from royal life, another royal is already stepping in to fill her place

The royal family is ready to begin a new chapter.

By Jess Pullar
As the dust starts to settle following the bombshell announcement that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry would step back as senior royal family members, we're finally getting some clarity on some of our burning questions.
Logistically, Harry and Meghan's choice to step back will leave somewhat of a lull in the regular royal engagements they've been known to partake in.
According to the statistics, Prince Harry attended 201 engagements in 2019 alone - but naturally as he steps back, we're about to see this shrink considerably.
So how will the Palace remedy the gap?
Well, it looks like a plan is already well underway.
As Meghan and Harry step back, another royal couple step forward. (Image: Getty)
You may have noticed a certain royal family member pop up in your news feeds this week - and she just so happens to get along swimmingly with Duchess Catherine.
Indeed we are of course speaking about Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the wife of the Queen's youngest son Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
Working quietly at numerous engagements in the background, Sophie has always been something of a royal underdog when it comes to royal engagements.
A constant in the royal fold, Sophie has been right at the Queen's side through thick and thin.
Sophie of Wessex is a firm favourite of The Firm. (Image: Getty)
She was there last year when the Prince Andrew scandal broke, sitting alongside her Majesty as the pair drove to her regular Sunday service in Balmoral.
Sophie was also there on Christmas Day, providing an air of stability onto royal watchers as she left church with her family - she is the mother of Lady Louise, 16, and James, Viscount Severn, 12 - alongside Catherine, William and their two eldest children Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The Wessex clan attended church at Sandringham on Christmas Day alongside William and Catherine, and the extended royal family. (Image: Getty)
And most recently, you may have seen her attending a glitzy Buckingham Palace reception this week - with William and Catherine once again.
The reception, which happened to coincide with Sophie's 55th birthday, was held to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit.
In an image shared by Kensington Royal, the official Instagram account of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Sophie is seen at complete ease, laughing and chatting to Kate as Edward watches on.
And it was with this one image that things seemed crystal clear when it comes to the royal family's future.
A beautiful image of Sophie and Kate chatting at a Buckingham Palace reception spoke volumes. (Image: Instagram/@KensingtonRoyal)
As Meghan and Harry step back from their royal duties, there's undoubtedly be a lull in the anecdotes and displays we've so regularly come to see from the two prominent family members.
That's why, with Kate and William already being front and centre (they will be the future King and Queen Consort after all), it seems only natural that Sophie and Edward slot into the bigger royal picture - albeit subtly.
And the wheels already seem to be in motion with Sophie set for another significant engagement this week - a short tour of Sierra Leone.
The royal will take a two day trip to the West African country, partaking in several engagements that will focus on addressing sexual and gender based violence, as well as supporting survivors and putting the spotlight on how women are building, and will continue to build peace.
Sophie will no doubt take the engagement in her stride - she's no stranger to a royal tour and is known to be hugely passionate for such causes.
Sophie is progressive and passionate - and it's earned her high praise in the past. (Image: Getty)
As tends to happen with all royals, fashion is also likely to take centre stage for Sophie.
The Countess has always been rather progressive in her fashion choices. At the Palace reception on Monday evening, the royal also subtly managed to mesh with Kate, wearing a beautifully fitted red dress featuring a delicate shell-cut sleeve.
Kate's sparkling red Needle and Thread gown was a showstopper in itself, and together, the two royal women made up quite the impression.
WATCH: Prince William speaks about his proposal to Kate during glitzy Buckingham Palace reception. Story continues...
With this in mind, there's no doubt that Sophie and her husband are well up to the task of stepping into the much loved shoes of Harry and Meghan.
Stay tuned - we might well have a brand new Fab Four on our hands.