Sophie, Countess of Wessex: A favourite royal
An unknown royal. Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Sophie is a royal who is rarely seen in the media yet she does an enormous amount of work for charity. But what really moved me was photographs of her in the press in March 21, 2014.
Sophie has immense charm and is always very well composed and dignified. But in March 2014 she was seen to break down in tears at a public engagement.Why?She was visiting a hospital - just a routine royal visit - and was clearly emotional. This wasn't because of what she saw, it was because of what she remembered.
It was something that had happened to her ten years previously that was scarcely mentioned in the media at the time.Where does Sophie it into the royal scheme of things? She is the wife of Queen Elizabeth's youngest son, Prince Edward.
A late marriage
By traditional standards in the royal family, Sophie was an 'older bride' at the ripe old age of thirty four.
Her husband is less than a year older.Because Edward is the youngest son, there was no pressure whatsoever on him to marry and produce heirs but nevertheless, the couple wanted children.
This proved to be more difficult than imagined and Sophie had an ectopic pregnancy after two years of marriage and complications indicated that she might not be able to conceive again.But in 2003, she was delighted to find that she was pregnant. The organised and efficient Sophie gave up her favourite pastime - horse riding - she devoted herself to a doctor-approved exercise regime and embarked on a pure and healthy diet. She was taking no chances.
A perfect pregnancy
Everything was going well. So much so that her husband, Prince Edward, felt perfectly comfortable having to leave her in early December to embark on a tour of Mauritius.
Yet shortly after he had left for his trip, Sophie was taken ill and was in severe pain.Luckily, she had staff at their family home and they immediately called the emergency services. However, there was confusion. Instead of an ambulance turning up to take the stricken countess to hospital, the police were dispatched.Eventually, after too long a wait, Sophie was taken to hospital - the one she later visited in 2014.This was the problem
(Look away, guys)
Today, the members of the royal family try their best to bring their children up in as normal an atmosphere as they possibly can.
But this can be a hard task when the paparazzi are everywhere and the media craves news for the enjoyment of the general public.
Is it really a glamorous and pampered life? Or does it bring its own unique problems?
Almost a royal tragedy
Without going into detail, suffice it to say that the medical team swung into action. Sophie had suffered an enormous blood loss and it's said that she was just fifteen minutes away from dying. She needed a transfusion (nine pints) but the baby was born alive.
However, the tiny little girl was whisked away to another special hospital to receive care.It was over three weeks before mother and baby were reunited.Prince Edward was alerted and returned from his foreign trip but no doubt felt as helpless as most new fathers do when confronted with an almost tragic birth event.
Lady Louise Windsor
Here is the baby that almost didn't survive. If you think she looks familiar it's because she was a bridesmaid when Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2012.
As you can see, she is in the best of health and a lovely pretty little girl. She shows no sign of the drama that surrounded her entry into the world. Her full name, Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary, pays tribute to her illustrious family history.
Born with esotropia, an eye condition, she received surgery to correct this and is as normal a little girl as you can imagine. In January 2014, she fell off her pony and broke her arm - how very typical of the royal family!The hospital at which her mother was moved to tears was the one where Louise had been born and both their lives had been saved.
During the visit she hugged the midwife who had attended Louise's birth and in her speech to the staff said: