Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, reportedly wanted a bigger role in the British monarchy, but was "overshadowed" by senior members of the royal family. As the spouse of the fourth child of Queen Elizabeth II, she was far behind in line to represent the British monarch at royal engagements.

Sophie returned to the spotlight last year after the exit of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as senior members of the British royal family, as she along with her husband, Prince Edward, took on some of the extra roles left vacant by the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex. She and Edward were at the forefront of the royal family's response to the coronavirus pandemic as well, being the first from 'The Firm' to resume working engagements after the lockdown was removed.

Now, a royal expert has claimed that the former public relations professional has always wanted a bigger role in 'The Firm,' reports Mail Online. Journalist Phil Dampier said that "rising star" Sophie's "time has come."

"I think Sophie was always willing to take a bigger role, but she was overshadowed by more senior royals," he said.

Dampier also noted that the 55-year-old now has a higher profile than her husband Prince Edward. He added that the Countess has become an inspirational figure for her 17-year-old daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, who could be the next rising royal star.

Dubbing the teenager "highly intelligent," Dampier said, "Their daughter Lady Louise could turn out to be a star in her own right and will get a lot of inspiration from her mum."

Sophie and Edward are also parents to James, Viscount Severn, 12. The family resides at Bagshot Park in Surrey, where they participated in a number of charitable initiatives amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Dampier had previously also touted Sophie as one of the top contenders for the senior royal roles left vacant after the exit of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as well as the stepping down of Prince Andrew due to public uproar surrounding his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

"She is very close to Her Majesty and is a favourite of hers. Recently she has been on several overseas trips and done fantastically well. Now that her children are a bit older I think there could be a great role for her to play. She is 55 today and she is very fit and full of energy," he told the Mail Online.

"I think she wants to do more and would happily step up to the plate and take over more duties if asked," Dampier added.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is joined by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge at the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, 11 November, 2012 Reuters