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The Wessexes

Looking back at the birth of Lady Louise: a medical emergency with a happy ending


Though today Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor celebrates her 18th birthday, on the day of her birth in 2003, there was a medical emergency surrounding the event.

The Countess of Wessex was not expecting to give birth until early December when she began to experience cramps at Bagshot Park, her residence in Surrey.

She called for help and was transferred by ambulance to Frimley Park Hospital nearby, where she gave birth to a baby girl via emergency caesarean section due to a placental abruption that caused severe blood loss to Sophie and the baby.

The press secretary for Edward and Sophie announced the news of Lady Louise’s birth: “Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex was safely delivered of a baby girl by emergency caesarean section at 11.32 pm on Saturday 8 November, at the Frimley Park NHS Hospital in Surrey. The weight of the baby was 4lbs 9oz.

“Her Royal Highness and her daughter are both stable. As a purely precautionary measure, the baby was taken to the regional neonatal unit at St George’s Hospital, Tooting.”

Edward, who had been away on an official visit to Mauritius during Lady Louise’s birth, promptly returned home and divided his time visiting his newborn in London and Sophie in Surrey.

Lady Louise—whose name was not announced to the public until 27 November—stayed at St. George’s Hospital, Tooting for a week, returning to Frimley Park Hospital on 14 November.

When mother and daughter were reunited in the hospital, Prince Edward told the press outside, “The important thing is that this has been a fantastic day in our lives, a day of great relief and joy, and it’s difficult to explain what it is to be together as a family for the first time.”

Sophie remained a patient at Frimley Park Hospital until 19 November; Lady Louise until 23 November.

After her discharge, Sophie released a statement: “I cannot thank the staff and medical team and nurses at Frimley Park enough for all they have done for me and our beautiful daughter, who will be joining us at home to complete our family very soon. I am thrilled to be going home.”

Her son, James, Viscount Severn, would also be born at Frimley Park Hospital in 2007.

In 2014, Sophie returned to Frimley Park Hospital to open its new state-of-the-art neonatal unit and was overcome with tears thanking the staff there. “I want to say well done to everyone for your fundraising and for all the work you do to help thousands of families – your service is the difference between life and death.

“I know all the staff are really keen to get everything started. It is a great working environment, and the results you are having are a testament to this investment.

“It has been something really important in my life, and so I thank you again for inviting me here today.”

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.