British royals Prince Edward and his wife SOPHIE, COUNTESS OF WESSEX are expecting a baby - defying concerns they would never be able to conceive another child.

The couple, both 41, feared the worst after Sophie lost a baby in 2001 following an ectopic pregnancy, and suffered a difficult birth of their first daughter, 21-month-old LADY LOUISE in 2003.

But the overjoyed pair are already seeking a nanny for the new arrival, and childminder to the stars CLAIRE VERITY - who has worked for Sting, SIR Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall and MARK KNOPFLER - is a hotly tipped contender.

A source says, "They wanted this baby for a long time.

"Obviously they will be worried after everything that happened, but it's fantastic news for them."