The Countess of Wessex, Ms Sophie Rhys-Jones, today decided to step down as chairman of her public relations company but hopes to continue in business despite the furore over the "Sophie tapes".
Ms Sophie Rhys-Jones
In a personal statement, Ms Rhys-Jones said: "I am deeply distressed by the carrying out of an entrapment operation on me and my business but I also much regret my own misjudgement in succumbing to that subterfuge."
Her company R-JH Public Relations will now be restructured to enable it to continue operating, she said. Her business partner Mr Murray Harkin has also decided to resign and to take a break from business.
Ms Rhys-Jones was videotaped making outspoken and indiscreet remarks about senior members of the Royal Family, leading politicians and current issues, including foxhunting and Chancellor Gordon Brown's Budget.
The newspaper "sting", carried out by an undercover reporter posing as a rich Arab sheikh offering R-JH a lucrative PR deal, has resulted in accusations that Ms Rhys-Jones - as well as her husband Prince Edward - have exploited their royal status to make money.
In the wake of the "Sophie tapes" row, Buckingham Palace said a review of how "working Royals" should conduct themselves would be undertaken.
A Palace statement said: "In following careers they (Edward and Sophie) are always open to accusations of exploiting their royal status in pursuit of their own business interests.
"Both the Earl and the Countess vigorously deny that they have deliberately set out to do so.
"The Queen deplores the entrapment, subterfuge, innuendo and untruths to which the Earl and Countess have been subjected in recent days."