16 JULY 2003
Sophie Wessex, nearly 20 weeks into her own pregnancy, met with patients and staff at a Surrey hospital maternity unit just ten minutes from her Bagshot House home on Tuesday.
Dressed in a cheerful white suit with a summery pink flower print, Prince Edward's wife was relaxed and smiling as she chatted with new mothers in the ward – and even received some advice from some of the more experienced parents.
"She asked me whether I took to motherhood easily, and I told her you learn together," said Samantha Hawkins, 36, who introduced the Countess to her four-day-old daughter Eleanor. "I got the impression she was looking forward to (being a mum), and I said good luck."
The 38-year-old royal, who suffered an ectopic pregnancy in 2001, was expected to take a break from duties until the birth of her child. However, Sophie has continued with a light agenda – in addition to the Frimley Park Hospital visit, she also appeared at Ascot last month.