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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 13:04 GMT
Sophie leaves hospital
Sophie leaving hospital with Prince Edward
The countess left hospital on Monday
The Countess of Wessex has been released from hospital following surgery for her ectopic pregnancy.

Sophie is said to be tired but recovering after the emergency operation at the King Edward VII Hospital, in central London.


She continues to rest and recuperate because she is still very tired

Palace spokesman
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the couple had been guided by the advice of doctors.

But he said: "She continues to rest and recuperate because she is still very tired."

Prince Edward again visited the hospital on Sunday where his wife has spent the last three days.

Few visitors

The spokesman said other members of the Royal Family had not visited on the advice of Edward and Sophie and doctors, who said the numbers of visitors should be kept to a minimum.

On Saturday outside the hospital, Prince Edward refused to discuss whether Sophie had known she was pregnant before the emergency, saying it was an entirely personal matter.

Asked how the countess was feeling, he said: "Very good thank you. She's getting better ... gradually, you know, like any of these things, recovering and a little bit tired."

He added: "I will be keeping in touch and visiting as often as I can."

Sophie was airlifted to hospital from her Surrey home on Thursday.

Convalescence

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

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

In a statement on Friday, Sophie, 36, spoke of her sadness at losing her unborn baby but said "it was just not meant to be" this time.

She remained optimistic she and Prince Edward could still start a family.

Dangers

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

"I certainly don't think I have left it too late," she said.

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 spokesman said the rest of the Royal Family, including the Queen, was being kept up to date on Sophie's progress by the Earl.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The operation has clearly been debilitating"
See also:

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