He’s largely grown up away from the limelight – but James, Viscount Severn, has made himself firmly seen this week following a spate of appearances with his family.
The 14-year-old, thought to be one of the ‘Queen’s favourite’ grandchildren, has joined his parents, Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex, and his sister Lady Louise Windsor, 18, at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham for the last three days.
He also appeared alongside the rest of the royal family throughout the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations earlier this year and the Easter service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in April.
Appearing smart in a check shirt and trouser combo yesterday, the teenager is said to be a keen and talented fly fisher – a pastime loved by several of his relatives, such as Prince Charles and the late Queen Mother.
James is also thought to be a much-loved addition to the party when attending the royal family’s annual summer holiday in Balmoral, where he joins in enthusiastically with outdoor activities.
But while he’s clearly an important member of the Queen’s family in private, he’s rarely seen on any official engagements with his parents, and wasn’t styled as a prince at birth in order ‘to avoid some of the burdens of royal titles’.
He’s largely grown up away from the limelight – but James, Viscount Severn (pictured), has made himself firmly seen this week following a spate of appearances with his family
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor react during the Platinum Party at Buckingham Palace on June 4, 2022 as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations
James and Lady Louise pictured during this year’s Trooping The Colour
Sophie, Lady Louise, James and Prince Edward attend the Easter Service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in April 2022
Upon the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s marriage in 1999, Buckingham Palace announced that their children would be styled as the offspring of an earl, rather than as a prince of princess.
‘It is thought this decision was made to avoid some of the burdens of royal titles,’ according to the BBC.
His styling as Viscount Severn (one of his father’s subsidiary titles) is believed to have been chosen to acknowledge Sophie’s Welsh heritage because the name is taken from the River Severn in Wales.
The Countess told the Sunday Times in 2020: ‘We try to bring them up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living…
‘Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but it’s highly unlikely.’
She also spoke in 2016 about her attempts to keep her son and daughter out of the public spotlight while they are children.
The 14-year-old, thought to be one of the ‘Queen’s favourite’ grandchildren, has joined his parents, Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex, and his sister Lady Louise Windsor, 18, at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham for the last three days
The teenager (pictured right on Tuesday) is said to be a keen and talented fly fisher – a pastime loved by several of his relatives, such as Prince Charles and the late Queen Mother
James (left) is said to be a much-loved edition when attending the royal family’s annual summer holiday in Balmoral, where he joins in enthusiastically with outdoor activities
But while James (pictured centre on Monday) is clearly an important member of the Queen’s family in private, he’s rarely seen on any official engagements with his parents, and wasn’t styled as a prince at birth in order ‘to avoid some of the burdens of royal titles’
Sophie told the BBC: ‘Certainly when they were very young we tried to keep them out of it. Only because for their sakes, to grow up as normally as possible we felt was quite important.
‘And they’re going to have to go out and get a job and earn a living later on in life and if they’ve had a normal a start in life they possibly can get, then hopefully that will stand them in good stead.’
Yet the lack of HRH title hasn’t stopped James from being honoured – and a Canadian lake has already been named after him.
His father Prince Edward was presented with a pair of framed notices naming two Northwestern Manitoba lakes after his two children during his visit to the Canadian province of Manitoba in 2008, reported the Vancouver Sun.
James, full name James Alexander Philip Theo, was born at Frimley Park Hospital on 17 December 2007.
Sophie and Edward pictured with baby James as he makes his first appearance at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey in 2007
Sophie and James in 2010, left, and the royal in 2013 at the Royal Windsor Horse Show
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor, James Viscount Severn, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony on June 15, 2013
Prince Edward described his newborn son at the time as ‘like most babies, rather small, very cute and very cuddly’, reported the BBC.
James is currently – following the birth of Princess Beatrice’s baby last year – 15th in the line of succession to the British throne.
He was eighth in line at the time of his birth, ahead of his older sister Lady Louise.
The Succession of the Crown Act made it so that no male offspring now takes precedence over females in the Royal Family.
However, the Act was passed in 2013, and only applies to those born after October 28, 2011.
As such, James’s place in the order of succession remains ahead of Louise and was unchanged following the birth of Zara Tindall’s third baby Lucas, last year.
The Earl of Wessex (right) and James, Viscount Severn arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in 2018, pictured
The Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor, James Viscount Severn and the Earl of Wessex on Christmas Day in 2018
This is because while Zara’s mother Princess Anne is older than Edward, she was also born before the Act came into force.
James was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle in April 2008 and became the first royal baby to wear the newly-made replica of the royal christening gown.
The original gown dated back to the christening of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s eldest child, also named Victoria, in 1840.
It has now been preserved and most royal babies since the Viscount have also been christened in the replica.
James, who lives with his parents and sister at the family home of Bagshot Park in Surrey, is said to be among the Queen’s favourites, according to Tatler.
He was reportedly educated at two nearby independent, co-educational prep schools, Eagle House School and St George’s School Windsor Castle.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and James, Viscount Severn feed a giraffe as they visit The Wild Place Project at Bristol Zoo on July 23, 2019
However, both these establishments only teach pupils until the age of 13, meaning he likely began attending a new school last year.
He appeared on his fist overseas engagement in April 2015, aged just seven, with his then 11-year-old sister, as they joined their parents on a visit to the Ubunye Foundation in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Sophie acts as patron for the non-profit organisation, which helps rural communities become self-reliant, and said at the time: ‘It’s very important for my children to see immediately from the moment that they come to South Africa that it’s not just about wonderful, beautiful animals and beautiful scenery.
‘That there is a huge need to support, protect and nurture the communities that live around and within these beautiful surroundings,’ she added, reported The Express.
In 2020, Sophie revealed her children are ‘not into social media’ but she and husband Prince Edward intend to teach them how to use it ‘successfully’ as they get older.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex take part in a Great British Beach Clean with their children, Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn, in Southsea in 2020
The mother-of-two said the virtual world can be ‘unkind’ at times and she hopes her ‘open’ relationship with her children will help them navigate it better.
Speaking to Good Housekeeping, the Countess of Wessex, who is patron of the NSPCC and Childline, added that it’s ‘so important’ for young people to have adults in their lives who support and affirm them.
‘Social media is here to stay, so it’s important for them to understand it and for us to equip them with the tools to navigate it successfully,’ she explained.
‘I think openness is one way families can support their teenagers. If children feel they can discuss issues and worries with their parents, without fear of them, or their friends, being judged, this may give opportunity to help them with what can be a complex and very pressured area.
‘Particularly when the virtual world can be, at times, unkind. Young people need to know they can trust someone with a problem, be that a person directly involved in their life or, of course, Childline is always there for them.’
James spends his summers at the Queen’s Scottish estate with other members of the royal family and is ‘rather good at flipping burgers and liked to get fully involved whenever there was a family barbecue at Balmoral’, claimed a source.
The insider also told The Sun in 2019: ‘His enthusiasm for fly fishing delighted Her Majesty because it’s a sport beloved of James’s great-granny, the late Queen Mother.
‘James was in the Dee as often as possible, waders up to his armpits. His mother Sophie, who is a keen fisherwoman herself, liked to stand with him. The Balmoral ghillies [gamekeepers] were impressed with both of them.’
James has also previously been spotted driving a Land Rover in the grounds of Windsor Castle with his mother in the passenger seat.