An Edmonton hospital welcomed a member of the royal family for a whistle-stop tour of its new maternity unit.

Princess Anne today visited North Middlesex University Hospital’s new maternity unit.

Midwives and other staff at the hospital in Sterling Way, Edmonton looked on as The Princess Royal was shown round the unit, which opened on November 20, 2013.

After the tour, the princess spoke to members of staff.

She was particularly taken aback when one trainee midwife said she had come from Madagascar to work at the hospital.

She told staff: “It is a great achievement to open a new maternity unit, but to open a really good one takes something special.

“The reason this unit has won awards is because of its staff and the personal skills they have with the mothers, that is key.”

The hospital has taken on more patients since the closure of the maternity unit at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield in November, 2013.

As a result, 50 per cent more babies are being born at the hospital every day, which amounts to 18 per day.

Princess Anne was also presented with a basket with the hospital’s mascot and flowers by four-year-old Cerys-Rose McCowen.

The child was delighted to have met Princess Anne and bowed to her, once she had received the gift.

She said: “I was nervous and excited about meeting her, I love being like a princess.”

Jean Warren, 82, was born at the hospital and worked as a care support worker for 37 years.

She said: “To be able to tell my story to her was just an honour and was fantastic. It’s different to how it used to be at the hospital but it’s something I have been a part of for many, many years.”

Midwives Sonia Clarke, Veronica Wells and Rosemary Hearne have all worked at the hospital through its transition.

Ms Clarke said: “It is the icing on the cake to have been through this transition, it is a wonderful new space and now to have Princess Anne come down, it’s been marvellous.”

Ms Wells says the hospital has had to take on extra pressures but has coped well.

She said: “There has been a massive increase since the closure of chase Farm and we don’t mind that. I think the figure is around 6,000 a year but we are happy people are coming to our unit because it is state-of-the-art.”