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Thursday, September 2, 1999 Published at 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK


Prince Edward: Back in the headlines

Media-savvy Edward takes a turn as a DJ

The Windsors are accustomed to life in the headlines, but Prince Edward has on the whole escaped the degree of attention the rest of his family has seen.

However, if headlines were what he was after by reportedly saying during a US trip that the British media "hate anyone who succeeds", then he has got what he wanted.

[ image: How the Mirror and the Sun reported Prince Edward's comments]
How the Mirror and the Sun reported Prince Edward's comments
The Daily Star reports "He's orf his Ed", saying: "Business flop Prince Edward came under attack last night for blaming his failure on jealous Brits."

"Fury as Prince insults Britain", reports the Mirror. The Sun describes the interview as "Edward's sneer at Britain".

Coming after his wedding in June, it has been a busy time for the prince, who for the last few years has been making an effort to come out from under the shadow of his elder brothers by trying to carve his own showbiz niche.

Success is one thing, but Edward also must know from personal experience that the treatment given to failing when in the public eye can be harsh.

A poor peformance by his production company Ardent, and indeed any setback in his business or personal life has been fully reported in UK papers.

[ image: The Earl and Countess of Wessex: adjusting to married life.]
The Earl and Countess of Wessex: adjusting to married life.
The company has had some successes, including deals with American TV networks CBS, NBC, Paramount and the Fox Family Channel.

But it has also had flops, including a soap opera set in the House of Commons bar, which only lasted six episodes.

And it seems Edward will always be associated with 1987's It's a Royal Knockout, which Edward organised to raise money for charity, but which was blamed for embarrassing the Royals.

Having excelled in sport and drama at Gordonstoun, he became head boy, and won a place at Cambridge to read history despite getting a C grade and two Ds at A level.

[ image: In recent years he has turned to broadcasting]
In recent years he has turned to broadcasting
His main interest at university was the theatre and he enthusiastically took part in many dramatic productions.

But a career in drama was problematic. Prince Edward had signed on with the Royal Marines who were sponsoring him through university on condition he served with them for five years afterwards.

He dutifully entered the Royal Marines after university but resigned his commission three years later. In total, he served less than four months.

Undeterred by the bad publicity following It's a Royal Knockout, in January 1988 Edward went to work for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful theatre company, as a production assistant.

His strong feelings about the way he has been treated have occasionally surfaced, including a post-Knockout press conference in which he rounded on critical reporters.

[ image: One of his university dramatic costumes]
One of his university dramatic costumes
And last year, also on a US trip, he said the British regarded people with titles as not having any brains. "There's no point in talking about anything else. We just have a hang-up about titles," he said.

Perhaps to counteract this, in his work life he is called simply Edward Windsor, although he is now to be known as Edward Wessex.

Last month Ardent announced it had had its sixth consecutive year of losses and had never made a profit or paid tax. The results took its accumulated losses to 1.7 million.

The deal to make a 350,000 film about the life of the Queen Mother, also announced last month, will have come as a welcome boost to the company's fortunes.

But bearing in mind his recent comments, it probably came as no surprise to the prince that the deal was reported in one British newspaper as "Edward sells his granny".

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