King Charles Taps Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie to Step In for Him at Historic Event

It was a royal first at Buckingham Palace.

Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As King Charles continues his treatment for cancer, he can thankfully call upon other royal family members to fill in for him. This time, it was Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie's turn to step up. The pair took part in a historic Buckingham Palace ceremony on Monday, which saw the traditional Changing of the Guard include French troops for the first time.

This is the 120th anniversary of a key diplomatic agreement between the U.K. and France known as the "Entente Cordiale." It involved 32 members of the Gendarmerie’s Garde Républicaine, joining 40 Guardsmen from the Scots Guards. This was the first time that soldiers from a non-Commonwealth country had joined the ceremony.

In a parallel gesture, 16 soldiers from Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards, accompanied by two military musicians, joined troops from 1st Régiment de la Garde Républicaine in Paris, to provide the Presidential Guard outside the Elysée Palace. This was the first time a foreign state had helped to guard the French Presidential Residence.

Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh

Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, stepped in for the historic event.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron inspected the troops there, with the expectation that King Charles would observe the ones in London. Unfortunately, this was not possible for Charles, so he sent two of the most stable and hardworking members of the royal family in his place. Edward and Sophie have been the quiet backbone of the royal family for years, and will celebrate 25 years of marriage this June.

Since the announcement of the King's cancer diagnosis on February 5, his attendance at public appearances has been dramatically scaled back. Usually his wife, Queen Camilla, or son, Prince William, have handled royal appearances in his absence, but William remains on Easter break with his wife, Princess Kate, and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

As such, Charles asked his youngest sibling Edward and Sophie, who carry the titles the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, to handle this special ceremony. The French ambassador to the U.K., Her Excellency Hélène Duchêne, accompanied them.

According to reports from the palace, Charles is staying positive during his treatment and that, depending on his doctors' recommendations, he may be able to carry out more public events in the coming weeks and months.

Prince Edward

Prince Edward inspecting the troops.

(Image credit: Getty Images)
Fleurine Tideman
Freelance Writer

Fleurine Tideman is a freelance writer who is always ready to discuss celebrities, entertainment, mental health, relationships and anything else her busy brain comes up with. She comes from the small, rainy land of the Netherlands, but she uses the flexibility of her work to travel around Europe and explore new places. She spent several years working in the travel industry, which taught her how to fit insane amounts in her hand luggage. She has a degree in Psychology and Anthropology, which she uses to psychoanalyse herself and others. She’s a regular contributor for Betches, and you can also find her work on Pop Sugar, Insider, Time Out or her own blog, Symptoms of Living. At Marie Claire, she’ll be covering celebrity news, usually written to the sounds of Taylor Swift.