Queen Sonja of Norway has shared the story of her devastating miscarriage, nearly 50 years after the event. Speaking in a TV documentary she says that it was a dark and difficult period in her life.
“I remember all the strange faces that bent over me when I was going into hospital. It was horrid,” she recalls.
Queen Sonja, who is married to King Harald, was 32 when she lost her first child, a baby boy.
At the time, the royal couple had been married for two years, and had only recently announced their big news to the excited Norwegian public. Sonja was almost halfway through her pregnancy when tragedy struck and she awoke to cramps and bleeding while aboard the royal yacht.
"Of course it was a desperate situation, I think it was absolutely horrific," the 78-year-old said.
"I was lowered on a stretcher down the ship's side,” she says.
After the trauma of losing her baby, Sonja also had to face speculation about whether she would be able to carry anymore children and provide an heir to the Norwegian throne.
"Fortunately I was able to have more healthy children," said the Queen, who gave birth to Princess Martha Louise in September 1971 – just one year after the miscarriage – and welcomed Crown Prince Haakon in 1973.