There are still senior royal family members to go around.

By Christopher Luu
Jan 16, 2020 @ 6:00 pm

In the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step back as senior royals, Prince William and Kate Middleton will have a different royal couple at their side for a reception at Buckingham Palace on Monday. The event, a reception to mark a U.K.-Africa Investment Summit, will feature Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

Edward and Sophie are considered full-time working senior royal family members, according to People. It's not a new thing, either, as the magazine adds that they're often called upon to handle royal duties on behalf of the queen. Additionally, the queen's daughter, Princess Anne, will also be on hand for the big night.

They may be veterans when it comes to royal to-dos, but People notes that Edward, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's youngest child, and Sophie aren't usually seen at high-profile events alongside William and Kate. Edward and Sophie married in 1999 and have two children: Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and son James, Viscount Severn. There's a connection to Harry and Meghan, however, as the couple lives in Bagshot Park, just south of Windsor, where Frogmore Cottage is located.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

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According to the royal family's official website, Edward, who's officially the Earl of Essex, "carries out a busy schedule of engagements in support of a large number of charities. His Royal Highness is especially passionate about organisations and causes which provide opportunities to young people." After Edward's father retired from royal life in 2017, he took over many of his causes, including The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. As for Sophie, she is patron to more than 70 charities and organizations and "undertakes hundreds of visits to schools, universities, military bases and charity headquarters in order to learn more about their work, and to highlight it to the wider world."

Monday's event will include dignitaries, heads of state, and their spouses and partners as well as prominent English and African business figures.

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"The summit will demonstrate the strength of the relationship between the U.K. and Africa, showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa, and highlight the U.K.'s commitment to supporting economic development in Africa, including through the creation of jobs and new partnerships," Kensington Palace said in a statement.

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