February 16, 1999 12:00 AM

Royal newlyweds Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones began their honeymoon at the Queen’s Scottish retreat, with their final destination (if there is one) still a closely-guarded secret. The Royal Couple, married Saturday evening at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, flew by helicopter to Balmoral Castle Sunday afternoon after hosting a family lunch at Bagshot Park, the estate near Windsor where they will live. On Monday British newspapers were full of speculation about the couple’s honeymoon, which reportedly began Sunday night at Birkhall Lodge, a house on the Balmoral estate usually used by Edward’s grandmother, the Queen Mum. The Times suggested they would stay a week at the Scottish estate before moving to an undisclosed location, while most of the other newspapers declared the couple are too busy running their respective businesses to take a long honeymoon and would get back to work after four days in Scotland.

  • While the whereabouts of the real Sophie and Edward remain a mystery, wax figures of the couple — the new Earl and Countess of Wessex (see note below) — took their places in Madame Tussaud’s waxworks museum in London on Sunday. Each waxwork costs about $49,200 to make and six months to complete.The museum said designers and dressers worked through the night to ensure that the depiction of the countess, in her wedding dress, was ready for display.

  • The Queen had no sooner granted a title to her son on his wedding day than Constitutional experts criticized the choice, saying it was a slight that he had not been given a royal dukedom. Many had predicted he would be assigned the title of Duke of Cambridge and were unimpressed by the decision to revive the Wessex earldom, which has not been conferred since the 10th century. (The title of Earl is usually given to a commoner marrying into the Royal Family; the Earl of Snowdon received his title when he wed Princess Margaret.) Historian Dr. David Starkey said: “The title itself is a total fiction. There is nowhere called Wessex. It belongs to the novels of Thomas Hardy. The title has not been used for a thousand years. Is it the right way to celebrate the third millennium by going back to the first?”

  • For more on the weekend’s Royal Wedding,

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