Queen Elizabeth II’s former press secretary has recalled how the terrifying birth of Lady Louise Windsor was ‘so dramatic’ and rather lonely for the Countess of Wessex.
Speaking in the latest episode of A Right Royal Podcast, via Hello!, Ailsa Anderson told how she was one of two people that comforted Sophie Wessex, now 58, as she gave birth to her first born at Frimley Park Hospital, in Surrey.
The Countess went into labour when 36 weeks pregnant on November 8, 2003, while her husband Prince Edward, now 58, was in Mauritius – a 12-hour flight away – for an official visit. He had been contacted, but there was no way he could return until the next day.
Sophie was admitted to Frimley Park after complaining of severe internal pains. Doctors found her dangerously ill from blood loss and performed an emergency delivery.
Ailsa said they also couldn’t get hold of Sophie’s parents at the time, and so it was just her, ‘Marcus Setchell, (who was the Queen’s gynaecologist), and the courtiers in the hospital at first while the Countess gave birth to Lady Louise, now 19.
Prince Edward and Sophie Countess of Wessex hold their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, in December 2003
‘I remember I was sitting at home. We’re having a dinner party. Actually, I got a call from Marcus Setchell, who was the Queen’s gynaecologist, who was overseeing the birth,’ recalled Ailsa.
‘He said, “I’m in a police car on my way to Frimley Park hospital. You better come”. So I thought, crikey.
‘So, I ordered a taxi, let my husband do the washing up, which I think was a first in our marriage, and got myself down to Frimley Park, but the Earl of Wessex was abroad on an official visit.
‘They couldn’t get a hold of her parents. So basically, it was just me and Marcus and the courtiers in the hospital. It was so dramatic,’ Ailsa added.
On November 8, when Sophie arrived from her Bagshot Park home to the hospital, medics realised she needed an emergency caesarean. She was showing signs of acute placental abruption, in which the placental lining separates from the uterus.
It can result in colossal blood loss for the mother, while babies may become distressed and can be stillborn. Sophie’s condition was so advanced that it was threatening to kill both her and her baby.
Queen Elizabeth II’s former press secretary has recalled how the birth of Lady Louise Windsor (pictured with her mother Sophie in June 2022) was ‘so dramatic’ and rather lonely for the Countess of Wessex
Marcus Setchell had made it to the hospital from London at lightning speed, and oversaw the operation, which was carried out by surgeon Sukhpal Singh, gynaecologist Anne Deans and midwife Adrienne Price.
The moment the baby was born, weighing just 4lb 9oz, she was taken from her mother and rushed to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, for special care.
Sophie, meanwhile, was just 15 minutes from death, reported the Mail On Sunday in 2014. She was losing massive amounts of blood and had slipped into a semi-conscious state. It took a massive blood transfusion before she regained any kind of stability.
For the next 24 hours she stayed at Frimley, alone. Edward didn’t make it back to Britain until the following evening. Mother and child were finally reunited at the end of November.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk