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Exclusive: Patsy puts her secret heartache behind her as she looks forward to a family Christmas

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While EastEnders Bianca Butcher returns to Walford with an explosive entrance this month, life has been no less eventful for actress Patsy Palmer as she reveals in this week's HELLO! magazine. In an exclusive interview, Patsy reveals she is renewing her wedding vows with husband Richard Merkell."I believe in marriage and everything it stands for but looking back I believe we should have thought about our vows a bit more," she tells this week's issue of HELLO! magazine."Rich and I are soul mates and it feels so right for us to take our vows again. "Besides, after being married for so long we may as well celebrate the fact that we’ve made it through the last eleven years and are still going strong!"


It's set to be very different to their small scale wedding in August 2000. "I had trouble finding a dress as I was still carrying my pregnancy weight, so I wore a simple cotton frock from Browns. This time I want to wear a beautiful dress. What bride doesn’t?”Her happiness hides sadness as she talks for the first time about the miscarriage she suffered just before her return to EastEnders. "It was a shock to be pregnant so soon after having our baby Bertie. At first I was excited but, deep down, I felt fearful that I wasn't physically strong enough.""Then, at my nine-week scan in October, they told me I’d lost the baby. We don't know why. But it shook us all. We'd got used to the idea of having another one in the family.I even joked that I'd be like the old woman in the shoe who had so many children she didn't know what to do. It was especially sad for the kids."


Patsy admits there was a moment when she thought she'd slipped into a depression: "My mum recognised the symptoms. She said the light had gone out of my eyes. I've suffered with depression before. I told myself to be brave and to be grateful for what I've got – four amazing children. I know how lucky I am. My family are the light of my life."However she is determined this will be a happy Christmas as the family celebrates baby Bertie's first birthday - born seven weeks prematurely he spent the first weeks of his life in hospital."We spent most of December in the hospital watching over little Bertie," recalls Patsy. "Bertie has brought so much joy to the family. We're all looking forward to celebrating his first Christmas at home. I still can't believe I am the mother of four children. It's a huge source of pride for me, not to mention achievement."Of her screen character, she tells HELLO! "I've actually missed Bianca. It feels good to be back in her shoes." But returning to work has not been plain sailing, and she admits that juggling childcare, home life and her career isn't easy."I've been with Bertie 24/7. He's my little mate so it's been a bit of a wrench," she says. "This whole working mum thing really scrambles my brain. I totally understand how other mums struggle with this. In the end you feel guilty whatever you do."To read the full interview pick up the new issue of HELLO! Magazine, no. 1204 on sale now.

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