“Lately Sophie has been the go-to for various personal matters as well as a sounding board for certain decisions about the monarchy, which she’s perfect for since she’s impartial and has no real agenda or issues with the likes of the Sussexes or the Yorks – she’s also incredibly understated and hard-working, albeit beneath the radar.
“But it’s raising Kate’s hackles because she’s getting less face time and her nose is put out, though she’d never admit it of course.”
As royals followers are aware, Sophie is not classified as a Duchess following husband Edward’s decision to take a different royal title.
He was famously so enamoured by a character named Lord Wessex from the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love that he asked for the same title – and his mother the Queen generously agreed.
That meant that once Edward, 56, and Sophie tied the knot at Windsor Castle in 1999, they became the Earl and Countess of Wessex respectively, with William and Kate later taking on the Cambridge honour following their nuptials in 2011.
However the title tradeoffs didn’t cause any drama between the two families, with Kate and Sophie enjoying a close friendship and William, 38, being a doting cousin to the Wessexes’ children: Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13.
Indeed, Kate and Sophie have regularly attended social functions and events together in recent years, regularly huddling up in the Royal Box and Wimbledon and cheering from the sidelines at the Ascot races.
As our insider notes, “They have always had a wonderful friendship, so it’s a real pity that this competitive streak they both have appears to have come between them.
“It’s more a case of awkwardness as opposed to tension, because at the end of the day they’re both on the same team and limelight stealing or showboating simple isn’t in their nature.
“But Kate definitely cherishes every moment she gets with the Queen, and with Sophie spending so much time by her side these days it’s starting to feel like she’s second choice – and that stings.
“She’s also not being consulted about quite so much as she used to, which is no coincidence since the word is that Sophie has Her Majesty’s ear more than anyone at the moment.
“Ultimately though, this is far from a crisis and they’re bound to work things out in the near future and resume that rock-solid relationship again.
“At the end of the day this is a good problem to have, in that the Queen adores them both and neither of them has anything to worry about in that regard.
“They’re front and centre of the monarch and integral to the big picture, just in different ways.
“Sophie’s never let anyone down and neither has Kate – and all niggles aside that’s what really matters here.”