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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 15:00 GMT
Sophie 'very sad' at losing baby
The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Sophie says there will be 'other chances' to have a baby
The Countess of Wessex has spoken of her sadness at losing her unborn baby but concluded "it was just not meant to be" this time.

Sophie, who is recovering at the King Edward VII Hospital in central London, was optimistic that she and Prince Edward could still start a family.

"I'm obviously very sad - but it was just not meant to be," she said. "But there will be other chances".

Sophie, 36, thanked members of the public and the media for their sympathy.

It is about the most painful thing anyone can undergo

Prince Edward
"The nurses have been unbelievably fantastic," she said.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the countess was "unbelievably sad" at having lost a baby she recently said she dearly desired.

Sophie was airlifted to hospital from her home at Bagshot Park in Surrey on Thursday morning.


She had felt unwell overnight and an air ambulance with paramedic team was called.

At hospital she underwent a two-and-a-half hour operation after the potentially life-threatening condition was discovered.

She was understood to have lost a lot of blood, but doctors say she is recovering.

It is thought her convalescence could take up to six weeks.

Flowers and get-well messages surrounded Sophie, who was visited on Friday by Prince Edward and her parents, Christopher and Mary Rhys-Jones.

Prince Edward was present at his wife's bedside

After spending an hour and a quarter with his wife, Edward, 37, spoke to reporters about the "traumatic time" Sophie had been through, stressing that an ectopic pregnancy was "about the most painful thing anyone can undergo".

"First of all thank you very much indeed for your concern and sympathy, that is very much appreciated," he said.

"The patient is doing remarkably well. She is experiencing a certain amount of discomfort and will be in hospital for a few days."

"I just want to add my thanks to all of the medical team who have done a fantastic job.

"They reacted so quickly yesterday and were here to deal with the situation so professionally."


Earlier this year the countess said she hoped to have a boy and a girl and that she was prepared to consider IVF treatment to conceive.

"I certainly don't think I have left it too late," she said. "If I'm lucky enough to have any, one of each would be nice."

The BBC's royal correspondent, Jennie Bond, said a royal spokesman had told her that Sophie had been tearful after the operation.

Prince Edward spent over an hour-and-a-half at his wife's bedside after she underwent surgery, the spokesman added.


He arrived at the hospital on Friday morning after spending the night at Buckingham Palace. He carried in a box containing cream and lilac flowers.

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, most often in the fallopian tubes.

If the fallopian tube is ruptured it can cause massive internal bleeding and may affect fertility.

But experts say as long as the other fallopian tube remains undamaged, the countess should still be able to have a normal pregnancy.

The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret have also received treatment at the King Edward VII Hospital in recent months.

Stressful year

It has been a difficult few months for the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who married in June 1999. In April this year, Sophie was embroiled in controversy when she was the victim of a newspaper sting over her public relations company R-JH.

The affair intensified criticism of her dual role as a royal and businesswoman and she was widely attacked for allegedly using her royal status to win lucrative contracts.

In October, Edward also hit the headlines when it was discovered that his production company, Ardent, had broken a media agreement over the filming of Prince William at university.

The BBC's Jennie Bond
"Prince Edward spent two hours with his wife"
The BBC's Geraint Vincent
"The Countess has only been visited by her husband, her mother and her father"
See also:

06 Dec 01 | Health
Ectopic pregnancy
21 Jun 99 | royal wedding
Edward and Sophie begin married life
07 Dec 01 | UK
Tragic year for Sophie
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