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Duchess Sophie and husband Prince Edward's heartwarming birth announcements

The late Queen Elizabeth II's son shares children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex with his wife Duchess Sophie

Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
18 April 2024
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The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are parents to two children, Lady Louise Windsor, 20, and James, Earl of Wessex, 16, residing in Bagshot Park near King Charles' royal residence, Windsor Castle.

Former public relations executive Sophie first met Prince Edward at Capital Radio in 1987, bumping into him once again in 1993 at a charity event. They soon began dating and the couple announced their engagement in January 1999, when they were both 34 years old.

They wed the summer after their engagement, marrying at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on 19 June 1999 with an intimate guest list, famously asking those attending not to wear hats.

WATCH: Why Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex opted for a Windsor wedding

Sophie and Edward welcomed their children in 2003 and 2007, and the Duchess has previously spoken about wanting their children to live as normal lives as possible.

In an interview with The Sunday Times in 2020, the mum-of-two said: "We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living. Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think it's highly unlikely."

Here, we take a look back at the birth announcements of Sophie and Edward's two children… 

Sophie Rhys-jones And Prince Edward Kissing On The Day Of Their Engagemen© Tim Graham
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh

The birth announcement of Duchess Sophie's daughter Louise

The Duke and Duchess welcomed their first child, Lady Louise by emergency caesarean section at 11.32pm on Saturday 8th November 2003, weighing 4lbs 9oz.

The official announcement read: "Her Royal Highness and her daughter are both stable. As a purely precautionary measure, the baby was taken to the regional neonatal unit at St George's Hospital, Tooting."

Lady Louise arrived four weeks before her due date and Sophie herself came close to death during the emergency caesarean after she lost nine pints of blood through internal bleeding. While baby Louise received specialist care at St George's Hospital, Sophie had to remain 35 miles away in Frimley Hospital, Surrey, for another 16 days.

Edward and Sophie with newborn daughter Lady Louise Windsor© Getty
Edward and Sophie with newborn daughter Lady Louise Windsor

Sophie spoke of the experience at a reception in India in 2019 while referring to a film highlighting the fight to tackle blindness in premature babies.

She said: "This is the third time I have seen this film A Life with Sight and each time I see it, it makes me cry. My daughter, Louise, was born prematurely and so every time I see anything to do with premature babies, it takes me back to those early days, the shock of her early arrival, and then the realisation that she had a sight issue, which we would have to manage."

James, Earl of Wessex and Lady Louise Windsor watch the action on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games© Getty
James, Earl of Wessex and Lady Louise Windsor

In an episode of HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast, the Queen's press secretary at the time, Ailsa Anderson, revealed what really happened the day Lady Louise was born.

"I remember I was sitting at home. We're having a dinner party. Actually, I got a call from Marcus Setchell, who was the Queen's gynaecologist who was overseeing the birth. He said, 'I'm in a police car on my way to Frimley Park hospital. You better come'. So I thought, crikey.

"So, I ordered a taxi, let my husband do the washing up, which I think was a first in our marriage, and got myself down to Frimley Park, but the Earl of Wessex was abroad on an official visit. They couldn't get a hold of her parents. So basically, it was just me and Marcus and the courtiers in the hospital. It was so dramatic," Ailsa recalls.

Thankfully, both mother and daughter recovered from their rocky start.

Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie on their wedding day© Anwar Hussein
Sophie wore the anthium tiara with pearls from Prince Edward on her wedding day

The birth announcement of Duchess Sophie's son James

Edward and Sophie's second child James entered the world on Monday 17 December 2007 at 4.20pm, with dad Edward describing his son as "very cute and very cuddly".

The official statement by the late Queen's press secretary read: "Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex today was safely delivered of a baby boy by caesarean section at 4.20pm, at Frimley Park NHS Hospital in Surrey. The weight of the baby was 6lbs 2oz. The Earl of Wessex was present."

It continued: "The Countess of Wessex is expected to remain in hospital for the next few days."

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex holding a baby James, Viscount Severn© Tim Graham Royal Photos
The couple welcomed James in 2007

Proud dad Edward revealed that the birth had been "a lot calmer than last time" and that his wife was "doing very well".

Discussing their baby's name, the Duke said: "We didn't know, we had no idea what we were going to get, we hadn't asked. You have to at least get to know the small person who's just come into the world before you actually try and pick a name."

James, Earl of Wessex and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfol© Getty
Prince Edward and son James Earl of Wessex

Four days after his birth, on 21 December, it was announced that the baby would be named James Alexander Philip Theo and be known as Viscount Severn, with court communications referring to him as Lord Severn. His title acknowledged his Welsh blood from his mother’s side. 

Following the death of James' grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, his title changed to James, Earl of Wessex.

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