These days, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, are considered as hardworking, but the low-key royals do their job behind the scenes away from the spotlight. However, there was a time when Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son made a very public gaffe that some believe had a disastrous effect on the royal family’s image.

It fact, Edward’s show “It’s A Royal Knock Out” might have started something — the decline of the royal family in the public’s eyes and the blurring of the line between showbiz and royalty. “That something was the irruption of showbiz into the royal world, and all the damage that caused,” the Independent wrote.

While the show was commercially successful, it was not good for the royalty’s image. “But for the dignity of the British monarchy, ‘It’s A Royal Knockout’ was a disaster,” opined the Independent.

“But by donning Olde England fancy dress and cavorting through a series of party games … the young royals inadvertently mocked the real costumes and ceremonies of their own House of Windsor. It was the breaking of royalty’s magic spell,” the publication added.

This view is also shared by author Penny Junor in “The Firm,” which was published in 2005. “Many people date the beginning of the monarchy’s recent troubles to that fateful television spectacular, ‘It’s a Royal Knockout,’” Junor wrote.

It’s a bit surprising that the show was even approved despite several oppositions by members of the family. “Why doesn’t Edward let the TV people get on with it and just turn up to accept the cheques? He's making us look foolish,” Prince Philip reportedly lamented.

The reason was that Edward was single-minded in his determination to see the show to its completion. In addition, the negotiations were at an advanced stage, and it’s too troublesome to pull out at that point, according to Junor.

As if the disastrous show wasn’t enough, Edward made yet another faux pas at the press conference that followed. When he asked the press what they thought of the show, the response was not as positive as he had hoped. “Thanks for sounding so bloody enthusiastic!” Edward snapped before storming out.

“He displayed a very impetuous side to his character and of course it was reflected in the television broadcast and the newspaper accounts at the time,” royal expert Richard Kay, who was present at that time, said.

Even Edward’s grandmother, the Queen Mother, was angry at the prince. “The Queen Mother, in particular, was incensed,” said reporter Emily Andrews. “In one fell swoop, Edward had managed to set them up to be complete laughing stocks.”

Prince Edward HRH the Earl of Wessex met with representatives from local organisations at The Kindle Centre, as part of his visit to South Wye in Hereford. Herefordshire Council/Flickr