Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, is a proud mother to two young children, daughter Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and son Viscount James Severn, 12. However, the British royal had an extremely difficult first pregnancy which ended up with her life in danger.

Sophie Wessex suffered a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy in 2001 and needed to be immediately flown to a London hospital. Thames Valley Air Ambulance, an air ambulance service providing emergency medical services through the provision of a helicopter-based air ambulance, came to her rescue. A helicopter crew was dispatched from White Waltham Airfield, the organisation's first operating base, who airlifted the royal to the hospital where she underwent a 2-1/2 hour surgery, reports People.

When the air ambulance service recently marked their 21st anniversary, Sophie visited the White Waltham base to pay tribute to the organisation that flew to her aid almost two decades ago and saved her life.

The 55-year-old, who is married to Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, visited the base on Thursday, just ahead of a week of celebrations for National Air Ambulance Week in the United Kingdom, which runs from Sept. 7 to 13. At the base, she was given a tour of the TVAA helicopter and shown some of its advanced medical equipment.

Pictures and videos from the visit were shared on the Twitter account of The Royal Family. "Today The Countess of Wessex visited Thames Valley Air Ambulance to help launch their 21st anniversary celebrations, ahead of #AAW2020," a picture of Sophie standing in front of the air ambulance was captioned.

The royal, who was appointed patron of the service in January last year, also chatted with some of the crew and former patients as they talked about their life-changing experiences. To celebrate their 21 years in service, the organisation is launching its Patients at Heart campaign this month, dedicating the anniversary to its former patients and families.

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Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex arrives for the Commonwealth Day Observance service at Westminster Abbey in London March 12, 2012. Reuters

Sophie had remained in touch with her patronage during coronavirus lockdown. She joined one of its weekly crew video calls in April to take an update on how the charity's paramedics and doctors were dealing with the pandemic after being redeployed in the NHS frontline.