James, Viscount Severn’s uncertain royal future laid bare

James, Viscount Severn is the youngest of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s grandchildren. The son of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the teenage royal is 14th in line to the throne, falling just ahead of his older sister Lady Louise Windsor. Unlike Prince William and Prince Harry, James leads a life away from the limelight, maintaining a level of privacy as a member of the most famous family in Britain.

The young royal made a rare public appearance earlier this year when he joined his sister and cousins ​​to mourn the loss of their grandmother. The eight royal grandchildren stood guard by the Queen’s coffin in an emotional vigil. Then, the following week, he joined his family at Westminster Abbey for Her Majesty’s state funeral and later traveled to St George’s Chapel in Windsor for the Committal Service.

Since then, James has kept a low profile. When the Earl and Countess of Wessex got married in 1999, it was decided that the couple’s children would not have princely titles, giving them the opportunity to shape their own existence outside of the Royal Family. Instead, they received the courtesy titles of the children of an earl. Hence, James is known as Viscount Severn.

As the BBC reported in 2016, Edward and Sophie have gone to great lengths to ensure their children enjoy as much of a “normal” life as possible.

“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,” Sophie said. “And they’re going to have to go out and get a job and earn a living later on in life — if they’ ve had as normal a start in life they possibly can get, then hopefully that will stand them in good stead.”

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According to royal author Katie Nicholl, the Wessexes’ parenting style is revered by other royals. “Kate is said to admire the way Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, are raising their children—Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn—in the bosom of the royal family but prepared for life in the real world,” she wrote in Vanity Fair in September.

The Wessexes were known to be particularly close with the late monarch and Prince Philip. The family of four lives at Bagshot Park, a royal residence just a short journey away from Windsor Castle, and it is understood that they spent a lot of time with the Queen, particularly in the final years of her life. “When they are with the Queen, she is their grandmother,” Sophie said.

It was with Her Majesty’s approval that Edward and Sophie forwent the traditional bestowing of titles for their children. And while Louise reportedly became able to obtain the royal style if she wished when she turned 18 last year, it seems she has chosen to stick by her parents and grandmother’s decision.

The Countess confessed she had high hopes for her firstborn attending university, and a wish that has come true. However, Sophie admitted that she wasn’t so sure about her son’s future. “I wouldn’t force her, but if she wants to. She’s quite clever, so I think probably. Whereas James, I don’t know,” she said.

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The US-based author and librarian, who has been researching Britain’s Royal Family for more than 40 years, told Express.co.uk earlier this year: “She [Louise]is going to be doing her own thing. She has already finished boarding school, so she is on her gap year.

“Then she might choose to go to university, but again, that is going to be far more private than if she were Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of Wessex. It is the same for her brother. I think that is the plan. They are the grandchildren of the Queen. But they are going to have a far different, more quiet life. They will be there at the big events, but they will be making their own way.”

James and Louise have, on rare occasions, accompanied their parents at official events. In April 2015, the pair participated in their first overseas engagement on a trip to South Africa.

Then, in September 2020, James participated in the Great British Beach Clean with his family at Southsea Beach in Hampshire, in support of the Marine Conservation Society.

The public did see the brother-sister duo take front and center stage the Jubilee weekend in June.

Louise and James were spotted at the Trooping the Color parade on the first day of the celebrations and attended the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Later in the weekend, they were among spectators at the Party at the Palace and on the final day of the Jubilee Pageant.

However, ambiguity surrounding the Wessex children’s royal futures remains and their roles within the monarchy are unlikely to be cemented in the near future, with Louise at university and James still at school.



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