Emotional visit for The Countess at Frimley Park Hospital

Today, on the 18th of March, The Countess of Wessex has been invited to open the new neonatal unit at Frimley Park Hospital, following the hospital’s £150,000 Saving Tiny Lives Appeal and to see a number of other improvements to the maternity department that delivers more than 5,500 babies every year to families from Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire. The new neonatal unit at Frimley Park Hospital was completed just before Christmas, and replaced a crowded Special Care Baby Unit.

courtesy of Frimley Park Hospital via Facebook feed. Click on pic to be redirected.

Frimley Park Hospital is a leading NHS foundation trust hospital serving more than 400,000 people across north-east Hampshire, west Surrey and east Berkshire, although its catchment for some services such as emergency vascular and heart attacks is much wider. The trust’s maternity unit has an enviable reputation as one of the best in London and the South East. In 2012/13, 5,564 babies were born at Frimley Park. The unit was awarded the highest level 3 safety rating in the latest CNST assessment and was ranked joint top nationally in the latest CQC survey of women’s experiences.

courtesy of Frimley Park Hospital via twitter feed.

The Saving Tiny Lives Appeal was set up by the Frimley Park Hospital Charity which saves and improves lives at the hospital. Everything the charity provides goes above and beyond what the NHS can provide. They guarantee that money raised through Just Giving will support the specific area of their work that people donate to. The appeal smashed its target in August last year allowing the hospital to forge ahead with its plans – foremost among them being the neonatal unit, which will now allow the hospital to treat babies born as early as 27 weeks.

© Frimley Park Hospital Charity, shared with kind permission from the charity.

It was incredibly emotional visit for the Countess. The medical centre holds a particularly special place in Sophie’s heart, as it was the hospital where she gave birth to her two children – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. The youngsters were the first royal children to be born at an NHS hospital. HRH spent as much time as possible on the ward at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, chatting to parents and admiring their new babies, most of whom had been born prematurely. It was the first time the Countess had been back to Frimley Park Hospital since her second child James was born in 2007.

courtesy of Frimley Park Hospital via twitter feed.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThe Countess said: “Thank you for inviting me here, it is good to be back in happier circumstances. On behalf of the thousands of families you have helped I would like to say thank you and congratulations on raising the money for this fantastic facility. The service you provide is paramount and can literally make the difference between life and death, I can attest to that! It is rare to have the opportunity to thank people for the huge difference they have made at an important time in your life so I am so pleased to be here and to be able to say thank you in person.”
Sophie broke down in tears during her speech. At which point all the photographers put down their cameras out of respect, only raising them once she had gained her composure.

courtesy of Frimley Park Hospital via twitter feed.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsBefore leaving, the Countess embraced Frimley Park’s head of midwifery Adrienne Price (who played a key role in the birth of Lady Louise and was present for the birth of Viscount Severn in 2007) and consultant obstetrician Gareth Beynon. 

courtesy of Frimley Park Hospital via Facebook feed. Click on pic to be redirected.

For the very first time, HRH visited Frimley Park Hospital, back in July 2003. The Countess was pregnant with her daughter Lady Louise. The Countess attended the opening of the Patient Resource Centre, which acts as a resource for patients, relatives and friends looking for more information about healthcare and illnesses. The center was the first of its kind to open in the UK.The Countess initially suspended official engagements in the early stages of her pregnancy, on doctors’ advice, but had resumed duties by June. Her last engagement before giving birth, took place on the 6th November 2003. Sophie had opened Childline’s New Counselling Centre And Offices.

Just 2 days later, HRH was rushed to the hospital, she prematurely gave birth to her daughter, Louise, resulting from a sudden placental abruption that placed both mother and child at risk, and the Countess had to undergo an emergency caesarean section at Frimley Park Hospital, while the Earl of Wessex rushed back from Mauritius. The 4lb 9oz Louise, one month premature, was immediately transferred to a specialist baby unit in London, while Sophie remained at Frimley Park Hospital, in Surrey, for 11 days to recover. Countess was reunited with her daughter after 6 days, since birth. In Prince Edward’s words, it was with “great relief and great joy” that the two were finally together. More here.

It was not the first time that Countess’ life was at risk. Two years earlier in 2001, Sophie had to be airlifted to hospital after suffering a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, where the baby develops outside the womb. Then, royal gynaecologist Marcus Setchell performed an emergency operation lasting nearly three hours at the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers in Central London. Sophie suffered massive blood loss and spent four days in hospital. You can read more in the article HERE.
Countess returned to Frimley Park Hospital on 17 December 2007, to give birth, again by caesarean section, to her son, James, Viscount Severn. Prince Edward, who was present for the birth of his second child, remarked that the birth was “a lot calmer than last time“.

Moving pictures from The Countess’ visit at Hospital’s Facebook & Twitter.
Also Frimley Park Hospital Charity shared pictures via their Facebook & Twitter.
Lovely articles with pictures from Get Surrey here, and Hello here.
Even more articles by Daily Mail, Telegraph, Express UK and Surrey Heath Residents.

After such emotional visit, HRH held a lunch at her Baghsot Park home for the Meningitis Trust, of which she is a Patron. On a personal note, Liz Earle makes amazing pure muslin cloths. They are great for your face skin-care. Worth trying. Especially if your skin has problems.

via Liz Earle Twitter feed

Outfit & jewellery:
Countess wore new Valentino Pink Wool Drill Cocoon Jacket.
Dress by Victoria Beckham Cotton-blend dress.
Jimmy Choo Agnes pumps
ToyWatch TB04
Heavenly Necklaces citrine earrings, no longer available 
Sophie Habsburg clutch from Chenille collection.  

6 thoughts on “Emotional visit for The Countess at Frimley Park Hospital

  1. Rachel

    Thank you for this post Anna,Sophie is really sweet,strong and human ,I hope you keep up the good job with this amazing blog,have a nice week!


  2. Great article. I love seeing the pictures of the Wessexes and baby Louise. So adorable. I love that Sophie went back to Frimley Park to open their new unit, you can tell she really cares. I heard she started crying during the visit, it must have been really emotional for her to be back there and see the people who helped her.


  3. Anonymous

    I had tears in my eyes when I read this. My sister went through a very traumatic pregnancy and birth with her 3rd baby and 12 months in intensive care – so this was very close to home. Sophie is so genuine and not afraid to show her emotions and I commend her for this. Anna you do such wonderful coverage of Sophie's consistently hard work. Thank you so much!!!!


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