Sophie takes the cockpit! Beaming Countess of Wessex sits on board a helicopter


Sophie takes the cockpit! Beaming Countess of Wessex sits on board a helicopter during visit to Thames Valley Air Ambulance which airlifted her to hospital during life-threatening ectopic pregnancy

  • The Countess of Wessex, 55, was all smiles as she boarded a helicopter today 
  • Her visit marked the 21st anniversary of Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) 
  • Mother-of-two Sophie is patron of the TVAA and toured an airfield in Berkshire

The Countess of Wessex was all smiles as she boarded a helicopter when marking the 21st anniversary of Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).

Mother-of-two Sophie, 55, is the patron of the TVAA and toured an airfield in Berkshire, meeting a crew and being shown advanced medical equipment on board their chopper today.

The charity is of great significance to Sophie – who lost her first baby in December 2001 – because she was airlifted to hospital by a Thames Valley helicopter following her potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.

The Countess of Wessex was all smiles as she boarded a helicopter when marking the 21st anniversary of Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) (pictured)

Mother-of-two Sophie, 55, is the patron of the TVAA and toured an airfield in Berkshire, meeting a crew (pictured) and being shown advanced medical equipment on board their chopper today

Mother-of-two Sophie, 55, is the patron of the TVAA and toured an airfield in Berkshire, meeting a crew (pictured) and being shown advanced medical equipment on board their chopper today

Discovering the baby had developed outside the womb, the royal underwent a two-and-a-half-hour operation, during which surgeons removed the foetus from her Fallopian tube. 

Sophie, who had been some six weeks pregnant, was said to be tearful and ‘unbelievably sad’ at the time. 

Her husband Prince Edward remained at her beside in the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers in London.

The royal couple, who have been married since June 1999, are parents to Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James Viscount Severn, 12.

The charity is of great significance to Sophie (pictured)  because she was airlifted to hospital by a Thames Valley helicopter following a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy

Sophie (pictured) lost her first baby in December 2001

The charity is of great significance to Sophie (pictured) – who lost her first baby in December 2001 – because she was airlifted to hospital by a Thames Valley helicopter following her potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy

Discovering the baby had developed outside the womb, the royal (pictured talking to crew members) underwent a two-and-a-half-hour operation, during which surgeons removed the foetus from her Fallopian tube

Discovering the baby had developed outside the womb, the royal (pictured talking to crew members) underwent a two-and-a-half-hour operation, during which surgeons removed the foetus from her Fallopian tube

Sophie (pictured), who had been some six weeks pregnant, was said to be tearful and 'unbelievably sad' at the time

Sophie (pictured), who had been some six weeks pregnant, was said to be tearful and ‘unbelievably sad’ at the time

TVAA is dedicating the anniversary of 21 years of service to its former patients and families, with its Patients At Heart campaign launching this month.

Sophie also spent time talking to past air ambulance patients who shared their life-changing experiences about the care they received.

Looking the epitome of professional, Sophie sported a navy suit with a floral shirt and black heeled sandals for the engagement.

Sophie (pictured talking to crew members) and her husband Prince Edward, who have been married since June 1999, are parents to Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James Viscount Severn, 12

Sophie (pictured talking to crew members) and her husband Prince Edward, who have been married since June 1999, are parents to Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James Viscount Severn, 12

The countess's visit to White Waltham Airfield near Maidenhead (pictured) came ahead of National Air Ambulance Week, which begins on Monday

The countess’s visit to White Waltham Airfield near Maidenhead (pictured) came ahead of National Air Ambulance Week, which begins on Monday

The countess’s visit to White Waltham Airfield near Maidenhead came ahead of National Air Ambulance Week, which begins on Monday.

She was appointed TVAA’s patron in January last year following her longstanding involvement with the service, which is also a charity.

In April, Sophie joined one of the organisation’s weekly crew video calls to hear how its paramedics and doctors were responding to the pandemic during lockdown. 

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