Sophie returns to royal duties

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, returned to work yesterday (12.09.08) following 10 months’ maternity leave.

The countess – who gave birth to son James last December – visited the 5th Battalion The Rifles, in Paderborn, northern Germany and drove a Warrior while dressed in a camouflage suit.

Sophie became the battalion’s Royal Colonel in 2007, but it was the first time she had paid them a visit. During her two-day stay, the countess met soldiers of the battalion and their families.

The visit marks a return to royal duties for the countess, who has taken time away from the spotlight in order to care for her son.

James, who is officially known as Viscount Severn, is Edward and Sophie’s second child. Sophie – who married Edward in 1999 – suffered a life-threatening ectopic
pregnancy in 2001 before falling pregnant again in 2003.

The countess was admitted to Surrey’s Frimley Park Hospital in her 36th week of her pregnancy after her history of complications.

She was found to have suffered an extreme loss of blood, and had an emergency Caesarean section to deliver Lady Louise, who was born weighing 4lb 9oz on November 8, 2003.