SOPHIE, Countess of Wessex, had to endure a separation from Lady Louise Windsor when she was a newborn baby, after suffering birth complications.
Sophie, who is married to the Queen’s son Prince Edward, suffered an ectopic pregnancy in 2003 and was rushed to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey on November 8 that year. Due to a placental abruption, both Sophie and Lady Louise suffered severe blood loss. Louise was born by emergency caesarean, performed by Royal Surgeon and Gynaecologist Marcus Setchell.
Then, Sophie had her baby taken away, as Louise had to be transferred to a specialist neonatal ward in St George’s Hospital in Tooting.
She was several weeks premature and weighed just 4lbs 9oz.
Through all this, Prince Edward could not be there to support Sophie, as he was on an official visit to Mauritius at the time.
The Queen was said to be “very upset” by the whole thing, as Sophie is believed to be her favourite daughter-in-law.
Louise was separated from her mother immediately after birth (Image: GETTY)
Sophie and Edward leaving the hospital with a two week old Louise (Image: GETTY)
After finally reuniting with her mother, Louise’s name was announced on November 27, 2003, as Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor.
She is named after her paternal 3x great grandmother Louise of Hesse, Prince Philip’s mother Princess Alice, Queen Elizabeth II herself, and Sophie’s mother Mary Rhys-Jones.
What’s more, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor delighted the Duke of Edinburgh, who was devastated that his own children did not share his surname.
Louise’s surname marked a strident return for the Mountbattens after Sophie and Edward decided not to style Louise as a Her Royal Highness.
Lady Louise has been a bridesmaid and a special attendant at two royal weddings (Image: GETTY)
The Countess said she planned to be a “hands on” mother, but the couple also hired a nanny for when she and Edward were away on official engagements.
A source told The Telegraph in January 2004: “[Sophie] has been spending as much quality time as possible with her daughter, and she is just thrilled at her progress.
“She really is an absolutely adored baby ‒ and real cutie-pie. She looks like a perfect jolly little baby.”
The Earl got “stuck in” too, having taken some time off official duties to spend with his family.
Louise with her parents Sophie and Edward, and her brother James (Image: GETTY)
The Queen, too, was delighted at the new arrival and spent a lot of time fussing over her during the family’s Christmas break at Sandringham.
Louise was born with esotropia, a condition that turns the eyes outwards, and she had difficulties with her vision growing up.
She had an operation when she was just 18 months old to correct it, but sadly the procedure was unsuccessful.
She went through a second procedure in 2014, which was a success, and now she can see perfectly, according to her mother.
The Countess told The Sunday Express in 2015 that her daughter’s condition may have been related to her premature birth.
She said: “Premature babies can often have squints because the eyes are the last thing in the baby package to really be finalised.
“Her squint was quite profound when she was tiny and it takes time to correct it.
Picture of the happy couple and newborn taken by Prince Andrew (Image: GETTY)
“You’ve got to make sure one eye doesn’t become more dominant than the other, but she’s fine now – her eyesight is perfect.”
Sophie was so inspired by Louise’s journey that she is now a patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and a global ambassador for Vision 2020.
Louise, now 16, attends St Mary’s School Ascot.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK