Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary this summer, after their 1999 royal wedding. Although Edward and Sophie made some gaffes in the earlier days of their marriage – including Sophie being caught in an undercover sting – the pair have long since been some of the most low-key members of the Royal Family. However, in 1987, Prince Edward’s most infamous idea had a big impact on the way the British public viewed the monarchy.
Royal author Penny Junor, in her 2005 book "The Firm", takes a look at the incident.
Ms Junor writes: “Many people date the beginning of the monarchy’s recent troubles to that fateful television spectacular, ‘It’s a Royal Knockout’.
“Everyone at Buckingham Palace, including the Queen’s private secretary Bill Heseltine, was against the idea.
“He had tried to get it stopped but Prince Edward was too far down the road with the negotiations, adamant that he should be allowed to do it.
The Queen and the Earl of Wessex (Image: Getty)
Prince Edward in the 1987 TV special (Image: Channel 5/BBC)
“The Queen, never good at confrontations, was unable to say no to her youngest son, even though she too had misgivings.”
Ms Junor continues: “Nearly 20 years on (in 2005), Edward is older and wiser having not been allowed to forget the disaster.
“‘It’s a Knockout’ is the benchmark for every idea that is floated.
“‘As long as it’s not like ‘It’s a Knockout’, the cry goes up, and he will be on a short leash this time around.”
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