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Lady Louise is 20: Why was her birth traumatic for her mother Sophie of Wessex?

Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, known as Lady Louise, is the eldest daughter of Sophie of Wessex and Prince Edward. Her father is the fourth and last child of Prince Philip and the late Queen Elizabeth II.

She is said to be the favourite of Elizabeth II’s grandchildren. Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, known as Lady Louise, celebrates her 20th birthday on Wednesday 8 November. The young woman, discreet and well within the bounds of the British royal family, is the pride of her parents, Prince Edward and Sophie of Wessex. The birth of this eagerly-awaited child was a difficult experience for her mother.

In her eighth month of pregnancy, Sophie of Wessex suffered severe abdominal pains and was rushed to Frimley Park Hospital. Elizabeth II’s daughter-in-law had lost a great deal of blood and was operated on immediately on arrival. The date was 8 November 2003. Louise Mountbatten-Windsor was born prematurely. The Queen’s gynaecologist, Sir Marcus Setchell, performed the emergency Caesarean section, saving the mother and giving birth to her daughter. It was a traumatic experience for Sophie of Wessex.

Lady Louise taken away from her mother at birth

Louise Mountbatten-Windsor’s mother then returned to Frimley Park Hospital twice. First in 2007, to give birth to James, her second child. Then in 2014, for the inauguration of a neonatal unit. At the time, Sophie de Wessex broke down in tears as she recalled the birth of her eldest child. “The service you provide is essential and can literally make the difference between life and death, I can testify to that,” she said at the time. “It’s rare to have the opportunity to thank people for the huge difference they’ve made at an important time in your life, so I’m very pleased to be here, to be able to say thank you in person.”

A year before Lady Louise was born, Sophie of Wessex lost a child when she discovered she was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. The child could not be saved. The arrival of Lady Louise was therefore eagerly awaited. When she was born, the 20-year-old spent two weeks in intensive care. Her mother had not been able to see her for six days, herself too exhausted. Suffering from sight problems as a result of her premature birth, Lady Louise underwent eye surgery shortly after her birth, and again at the age of ten.

Photo credits: Agence / Bestimage

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