Royal Wedding Bells Ring

Another happy society couple announced their engagement Wednesday, CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports.

All smiles and big diamonds. Everyone wished them well. Because if ever a family needed a break in the marriage game -- it's the family of this prospective groom who calls himself Edward Windsor.

He's the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth, who was off riding on her Scottish estate Wednesday and whose other offspring have provided some of the most spectacularly disastrous marriages of our time.

Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson -- divorced but now good friends.

And, of course, Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.

As messages of congratulations poured in Wednesday, the blonde, svelte Sophie Rhys-Jones posed for press photographs with her fiancé, looking uncannily like the late Princess Diana as she flashed an engagement ring featuring a 2-carat diamond flanked by two smaller, heart-shaped ones. The couple hopes the similarity is purely coincidental.

They said they are "... best of friends... love each other."

Edward and Sophie have a lot going for them. They've been an item for about five years. She -- as the phrase goes -- has rooms at the palace.

At 33, Rhys-Jones runs her own business, mixes in celebrity circles and confidently attends public functions on her own.

"She's very much her own woman," said Jennie Bond, royal correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corp.

Unlike Diana, who had royalty suddenly thrust upon her, Rhys-Jones has learned the royal business from the inside. She edits a magazine for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, a charity set up by her future father-in-law, and has handled public relations for some royal events.

And Edward, 34, has carved out a career as a TV documentary and host. In 1993 he formed the television production company Ardent Productions Limited, of which he is joint managing director.

Under the name Edward Windsor, he has presented a TV series about his great-uncle Edward VIII, who gave up the throne to marry American Wallis Simpson. He also has produced a dramatic series, Annie's Bar, about lawmakers in the House of Commons.

Edward and Sophie are approaching their marriage with the benefit of experience... bad experience. As the youngest child he has no hope -- or fear -- of ever becoming king. So that pressure is off. But just to be sure, the couple have rejected any idea of marrying here in this poisoned seed bed of royal marriages -- Westminister Abbey.

For them it'll be a quite family affair in a small country church... the glorious St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The couple will live at Bagshot Park, a former royal residence southwest of London, where Edward took out a 50-year lease in 1997.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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