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Step up, Sophie: the Wessexes take centre stage as Meghan and Harry bid adieu to royal life

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Britain's Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Britain's Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

REUTERS

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England

Getty Images

Britain's Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Britain's Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

REUTERS

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (3rd R), Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2nd R) and Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex, (R) sit behind Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2nd L) inside Westminster Abbey as they attend the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020 HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (3rd R), Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2nd R) and Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex, (R) sit behind Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2nd L) inside Westminster Abbey as they attend the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020 HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sophie, Countess of Wessex departs the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England

Sophie, Countess of Wessex departs the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England

Getty Images

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Britain's Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrive for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry signed off on their last official duties as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, their 'replacements' have been stepping forward

Over the course of three days, Meghan and Harry said their farewells to royal life in style, culminating in one final appearance at Westminster Abbey on Monday for Commonwealth Day, alongside them was Harry's uncle Prince Edward (56), and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. The Wessexes have been pinned as the pair tasked with picking up the slack left by the Sussexes exit.

While neither possess that Hollywood-style glamour synonymous with brand Sussex, they are the long-serving reliable royals, who have spent their 20-year marriage towing the line and following the rules set out by Queen Elizabeth. The British monarch has been so impressed by Sophie over the years that she has long been considered her 'favourite'.

As the world's media prepares itself for a daily news cycle without Meghan and Harry, Sophie and Edward suddenly find themselves thrust forward into the spotlight, earning headlines for their own stylish turn at yesterday's service. Sophie (55), a mother of three who previously ran her own PR firm, chose a monochrome ensemble reflective of the grown-up glamour she has spent the last two decades perfecting.

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England

Getty Images

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England

Her fitted Suzannah midi-dress, the same brand Kate Middleton wore on her final day of touring Ireland, was a re-wear she debuted at Royal Ascot last year. Her navy netted Jane Taylor hat was another recycled item, complementing her suede Manolo Blahnik heels. In recent weeks, Sophie has stepped to the fore and upped her wardrobe in the process - most notably, her cerulean silk polo neck midi dress by Galvan to a film premiere last month.

All eyes were, as expected, on Meghan and Harry yesterday, in particular how they engaged with their family for the occasion, during which Sophie and Edward were praised for playfully engaging with the pair while Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the queen, sat front row adhering to stony protocol.

The positioning of Sophie in a more central role will likely be part of The Firm's strategy to ensure its relevance into the next generation. Behind the scenes, considerable time and money has been invested in Harry's professional role as a prince - and his family - and now that plans have changed, it's imperative they show their adaptability.

The fact that at 55 Sophie is being heralded as a new generation style icon can only help the devoted royal fashion watchers, who spend hours poring over pictures of princesses, is just a bonus.

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Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (3rd R), Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2nd R) and Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex, (R) sit behind Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2nd L) inside Westminster Abbey as they attend the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020 HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (3rd R), Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2nd R) and Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex, (R) sit behind Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2nd L) inside Westminster Abbey as they attend the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020 HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (3rd R), Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2nd R) and Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex, (R) sit behind Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2nd L) inside Westminster Abbey as they attend the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020 HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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