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Don't mind the in-laws, they're not that scary!; Sophie Rhys-Jones and Prince Edward spoke openly to Sue Barker in a special BBC interview, broadcast last night. Here's what they said.

PRESENTER Sue Barker asked Sophie and Edward about the time they met for the first time at a tennis tournament .

Sue, who was at the tournament, remembered Sophie was quite anxious.

Sophie Rhys-Jones: I was a bit nervous not least because I was going to have to change my clothes in front of him and never having met him, I did not know how he was going to react.

Prince Edward: I diplomatically went off and practised a few shots in the corner of the court. It was extremely brave of Sophie to step into this having never met me before. It was not a bolt of lightning, nothing like that."

Sue Barker: Sophie, it must be difficult for you. Meeting your boyfriend's parents is difficult enough but for you it was very difficult and different.

Sophie: I would not say it was difficult but it was slightly more scary than it might otherwise have been.

But as Edward said before I met them, don't worry, you know they are not that scary, they won't bite

Sue: Your life, Sophie, must have changed dramatically from the day that first headline was written.

Sophie: It was quite funny because I drove into work and I remember coming out and seeing a wall of cameras and journalists. It was unreal, it really took my breath away.

Sue asked Sophie how she felt about the topless photo of her sold to the Sun by DJ Kara Noble.

Sophie: Well I didn't know she sold it. But the night before the photo appeared I was contacted and spent a rather sleepless night not knowing what was going to happen the next day.

Yes, it was completely devastating, it was not a good week, in a time that otherwise was extremely happy. But we've moved on from that now. The thing that has come out of it is the public support.

We've had hundreds of letters, calls from everywhere, from the office to the radio station to Chris Tarrant.

I was really bowled over by it. I was incredibly moved.

Sue: When the story broke in the Sun, what was your reaction?

Edward: It was just complete and total amazement that they should wait until now to do it and again it was the support that came from everybody.

I hope that is the sort of reaction people will continue to give us and say look, we are in a different era now, they do have a private life. There is a difference between public and private life.

And we support that and we don't want to have the same level of intrusion that has happened in the past.

Sue: Now you are in the public eye, is there anything you have either had to give up or anything you miss?

Sophie: I do, as far as possible, try and make sure I don't look a complete mess when I walk out of the door.

I remember one time we were going to Scotland for New Year and I wanted to get a map out of my car and I was in my flat and had washed my hair and I didn't have any make-up on.

I thought I'd just pop down to the car and get the map and I went half way down the step and thought 'No, I'll go and dry my hair and put my make up on, get dressed properly and then I will go'.

I thought 'No, don't be stupid. There is no-one there'.

I probably went up and down those steps about five or six times before I thought 'Don't be pathetic it is ridiculous nobody knows you are in London'. I went outside, went to my car, turned around and there was a photographer.

It was the one and only time I behaved like a child and I put the map up in front of my face and walked back because I was embarrassed. I was annoyed with myself but I should have trusted my instinct but did not.

Edward: Most people don't know this but the most precious thing anyone possesses is their anonymity and you have no idea how precious that is until you've lost it.

Sue: Did you feel due to the fact your brothers' and sister's marriages ended in divorce, there is pressure now for your marriage to work?

Edward: No, you don't think about it. Anyone who decides to get married is doing it for the very best intentions. They are going in there because they hope it is going to last and that's the only way you can go into it and it's the same with us.

Marriage is about you and a person and it is a very individual thing. But we are realistic about it. I mean the advantage of the last few years is that while we have built our own lives individually we have also been building our joint lives.

I mean with luck, we are both going into this with our eyes wide open and that is the important thing and we know how to support each other through our various lives and this is how we move onto the next stage and do it together.

Sophie: I was fully aware of what family Edward belonged to and therefore if I had any reservations about the potential situation I could have found myself in, I would have got out of it a long time ago.

It's always been in the back of my mind and Edward was very supportive. I know I have the best people to go to for advice. That does not just go for Edward but for other members of the Royal Family too.

Edward: The great thing is apart from us getting on very well, our friends get on very well. We each get on well with each other's families which is also important.

Sophie: The public will have a certain expectation of the wedding. After all it is a royal wedding and as much as we've said we want it to be a family wedding there are loads of expectations and I think we have managed to fulfil those.

Edward: As a royal family, there is still an enormous affection out there and people want to feel a part of it .

Just after you get married, you have to enjoy that married life because when children come along it is never the same so I think we will have a decent period of being able to enjoy married life.

Sophie: Contrary to public opinion, we have never lived together before so we want to get used to living with each other.

Sue: Do you feel that the fact you now have a business is a priority?

Edward: I do. There are people who rely on me for that business so my first responsibility is to them.

The other half of the duty is supporting the Queen and obviously if she asks us to step in and do something on her behalf, that's what we will do.

Sophie: I certainly see it more in a supporting role to Edward rather than rushing off and taking on the mantle of various different charities. Because we are very busy as it is.

I also think there is the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family doing an exceptional job and I don't see a massive need for me to do the same thing.

Sue: Talking about Edward's TV company, it is quite brave to go into that.

Sophie: Very brave because it is a very hard business and I don't think people are aware how successful he has been and how hard he has worked.

Sue: Also the presenting role. That is brave as well because that is putting you right into the public gaze on television.

Sophie: Yes it is. It has been a quirk of fate more than anything else but he is very good at it.

Sophie went on to talk about her decision to promise to obey Edward in her wedding vows.

Sophie: When people say obey, they think you are going to be under the thumb in some respect.

But if you actually understand what the proper sense of the word 'obey' is, it means you are looking to one person who is going t primarily take the most important decisions in your life together. It means if we are going to face a major challenge, you trust them to make that change to the benefit of the family, and really that is what obey is about.

It does not mean I am going to walk in his shadow or kow tow.

It does not mean that at all. The feminists of the world will be holding their hands up in horror saying 'Oh my God she is going to obey, how could she?"

But that is not what it means. It means I trust him to make good decisions.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 14, 1999
Words:1492
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