Wednesday, January 6, 1999 Published at 08:51 GMT
Edward's search for love
Prince Edward (far right) sometimes appeared ill at ease with his royal role
Prince Edward's forthcoming marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones should finally put to rest persistent rumours about his sexuality.
The youngest of the Queen's sons has dated some of Europe's most attractive and eligible young women but his continued bachelorhood has made him vulnerable to questions about his sexual leanings.
One of his first girlfriends was Kiwi Alison Bell, who he met in 1983 while teaching in New Zealand.
Heart-broken by Kiwi
Miss Bell, who worked for a radio station, spoke of the prince's "lovely soft lips" but their relationship collapsed when she was found to have been two-timing him.
While at Cambridge University in the mid-1980s the prince flirted with fellow student Eleanor Weightman, who gave him the pet name Munchkin.
They went on holiday together and she met the Queen at Windsor Castle but she broke off the relationship, citing unwanted media attention.
In 1986 Georgia May, the daughter of a millionaire boat builder, was tipped as the next royal bride after she danced with Edward at the Royal Yacht Squadron ball at Cowes.
The couple were seen out socially for about five months and spent time together at Balmoral and Sandringham but the relationship faltered under the weight of media expectation.
Prior to Miss Rhys-Jones he was linked with West End actress Ruthie Henshall.
They met in 1990 while Edward was working for Lord Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company and she was a chorus girl in the musical Cats.
She said they were "just good friends" but the couple had a relationship of sorts for three years.
She said she knew he was not gay but refused to go into details about their relationship.
For a time Prince Edward dated Anastasia Cooke but her desire to continue her career as a television journalist apparently snookered any potential for romance.
One girlfriend who revelled in the media attention was model Romy Alderton, who revealed details of their relationship to a tabloid newspaper in a kiss-and-tell article.
Miss Alderton said the pair were friends for three years but she said he made unwanted advances towards her in her bedroom during a stay at Balmoral.
Princess Martha-Louise of Norway was once mentioned as a possible paramour, on the basis that they had spent five hours together at a gymkhana.
But she quickly ruled out the possibility of a romance.
Prince Edward first met Sophie Rhys-Jones while she was working as a press officer at Capital Radio in London.
But the romance did not begin to blossom until 1993 when she handled publicity for his Real Tennis Challenge.