Sophie and Edward expecting second child

By Caroline Davies
Daily Mail

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were “absolutely thrilled” today after announcing they are expecting their second baby.

Earl and Countess of Wessex with their first child Lady Louise

The Countess, 42, is said to be three months pregnant, with the baby due in December.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, who are very close to their daughter-in-law, were told last week, and are said to be “delighted”.

The couple already have a daughter, three-year-old Lady Louise Mountbatten Windsor, who was born prematurely in 2003 (external - login to view).

The announcement took many of their friends by surprise after what has been a difficult few years for the couple in their quest for parenthood.

The Countess suffered a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy in December 2001, where the foetus develops outside the womb. She collapsed with severe abdominal pains (external - login to view) at home in Bagshot Park, and was airlifted to hospital where she underwent a two-and-a-half hour operation during which surgeons removed the foetus from her Fallopian tube.

Afterwards she made clear her anguish when she said: “I’m obviously very sad - but it was just not meant to be. But there will be other chances”.

Often those undergoing an ectopic pregnancy lose one of their Fallopian tubes, halving the chances of conceiving naturally, although this has never been confirmed in the Countess’s case.

She became pregnant again in 2003. Initially the pregnancy progressed well but, six weeks before the baby was due, she was rushed to hospital suffering agonising pains after dialling 999.

Her admission to hospital was delayed because of a blunder by police which forced her to wait more than 30 minutes for an ambulance. She underwent at emergency Caesarean section during which she suffered massive blood loss.

Baby Louise was born weighing just 4lb 9oz, and immediately transferred to a specialist neo-natal ward at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.

The Countess was too ill to be moved from Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey (external - login to view), and for the first four days was unable to be with her daughter.

Lady Louise was allowed home two weeks later.

The Countess has made no secret of her desire to have a brother or sister for her.
And though it has never been confirmed that the couple turned to IVF, the Countess has said in the past that she would not rule it out.

Today’s announcement demonstrates that she has beaten the odds to conceive again. Both her age and her pregnancy history were against her.

A Palace spokesman said: “They’re over the moon. The Earl and the Countess are both thrilled and excited.

“The Countess will continue with engagements as normal and take doctors’ advice”.

The new royal baby will be the Queen and Prince Philip’s eighth grandchild and, fittingly, will be born in the same year as they celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.