Who Is Prince Edward's Son James, Viscount Severn?

After years of life out of the spotlight, James, Viscount Severn is finally making his debut. Son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Viscount Severn is the late Queen Elizabeth II's youngest grandson at the age of 14 years old. Due to his incredibly private life, most likely due to his age, the public doesn't know much about him, and kudos to Sophie for making sure it stayed that way.

Now that he'll probably start making more public appearances, we thought we'd give you some insight into who the queen's youngest grandson is. From his childhood to his schooling and hobbies, we've got the inside scoop on the life of Viscount Severn. We'll also let you in on what his potential role in the royal family could be in the coming years.

If you want to learn everything we know about James, Viscount Severn, then keep reading. 

He's the queen's youngest grandson

Born December 17, 2007, James, Viscount Severn is the son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. He's their youngest child, after his older sister Lady Louise Windsor.

There's a large amount of kids in the royal family, so it's only natural to feel a bit lost or question how James would be the youngest grandchild. Allow us to explain: Prince Edward is the queen's youngest of four children, his older siblings being King Charles III, Princess Anne, and Andrew, Duke of York. That being said, like Prince Harry and Prince William, James is a grandson rather than a great-grandchild like Prince George and Princess Charlotte (via Today).

The queen's other grandchildren include Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, and of course, James' sister Lady Louise Windsor (via Town and Country).

He received the title of Viscount Severn at birth

When he was born in 2007, James was immediately given the title of Viscount Servern. Normally, as the children of a prince, James and Louise would be considered a prince and princess, and given the titles of His or Her Royal Highness — so why do they have different titles? Well, their father Prince Edward requested courtesy titles from the queen.

You're probably wondering what courtesy titles are, so allow us to break it down. According to Collins Dictionary, a courtesy title is, "Any of several titles having no legal significance, such as those borne by the children of peers." While these titles have no legal significance, they can't be donned by just anyone.

According to The Irish Sun, Edward and the queen made an arrangement that Louise and James would be regarded as the children of an earl. It's most likely that Prince Edward requested these courtesy titles to relieve his children of the potential burdens of royal titles like prince and princess (via BBC News). In fact, their mother, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, told The Sunday Times, "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" (via The Irish Sun). 

He lives at Bagshot Park in Surrey

Like the rest of his family, James, Viscount Severn lives at Bagshot Park in Surrey. His parents, the Wessexes, made Bagshot Park in Surrey their home in 1999 after their nuptials (via Express). 

The residence is just 30 miles outside of London, which is about an hour and 10-minute drive. The property is a part of the Crown Estate, which means it's passed between monarchs throughout the years, with Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, as the previous tenant (via Woman and Home). The Wessexes are actually the second family to live at the estate. 

The Wessexes are actually pretty lucky, as Bagshot Park is one of the grandest of the royal residences — which just means it's the bougiest of all the properties, as it should be seeing that it's worth an estimated £30 million (via Hello! Magazine). It has 120 rooms, which is a ridiculous amount for just four people — technically three, seeing that Lady Louise spends most of her time at St. Mary's School in Ascot (via Express). Let's just say, James is one lucky 14-year-old.

He was once eighth in line to the throne but is now 14th

Like the rest of the queen's grandchildren, along with most of the Royal Family, James, Viscount Severn also has a claim to the throne. He's currently 14th in line, but that wasn't always the case. At Viscount Severn's birth, he was eighth in line, ahead of his older sister Lady Louise (via Tatler).

So what happened? Well, in 2013, the Succession to the Crown Act was amended.

The amendment ended the system of male primogeniture (via Royal). As defined by Cornell Law School, "Primogeniture is a system of inheritance in which a person's property passes to their firstborn legitimate child upon their death." Prior to 2013, male primogeniture allowed royal sons to take precedence over their sisters, even if their sister was the firstborn (via BBC). Due to the amendment changes and the births of new royal babies, Viscount Severn was moved in the line of succession. He now falls behind his father, but still remains ahead of his sister.

There's a lake named after him in Canada

Have you ever wanted some kind of landmark named after you? That seems like it'll be a niche desire, but we know there are some of you out there. Well, James, Viscount Severn is living your dream. In 2008, Prince Edward received framed notices from Premier Gary Doer that both Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn had lakes named after them in Manitoba, Canada (via The Vancouver Sun). 

The lakes can be found in Northwestern Manitoba, close to Nunavut. Not many 14-year-olds can say they have a lake named after them as a gift to their father, but Viscount Severn can. Seeing that Viscount Severn doesn't make many public appearances, it's likely he's never visited his Canadian lake — plus, he was only five months old at the time of its naming. 

It sounds like he was receiving a ton of awesome perks at a young age. Just think, a title, a claim to the throne, and a lake, all before the age of one? That's pretty cool. 

He and his sister are considered the queen's favorite grandchildren

Now, no parent wants to admit they have a favorite child, but it looks like that doesn't apply to grandparents, and more specifically, the queen. James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise are often referred to as the queen's favorite grandchildren, but she apparently has a slight preference for the latter over the former (via The Sun). This might be because they're the youngest of her grandchildren. 

You have to admit, the younger ones always receive the most attention, if you're a younger sibling you know what we mean. Seeing that Prince Harry and Prince William are in their 30s and 40s, we think it's safe to say they wouldn't be jealous of Prince Edward's kids. Harry and William had years to spend with the queen, especially since King Charles III is her firstborn, so why would they be?  

It's unclear how much time Prince Edward's children spent with the queen before her passing, but we hope it was a good amount. 

He attended Eagle House School

Just because he's a royal, doesn't mean James, Viscount Severn isn't exempt from getting an education. It's said the Earl and Countess's son attends Eagle House School near Sandhurst in Berkshire (via My London). Eagle House School is actually one of the oldest preparatory schools in the country, as it was founded in 1820 by Joseph Railton (via Independent Schools Council). It was initially an all-boys school, but became a co-ed institution in 2005 (via Eagle House School).

The Wessexes pay the tuition of £18,000 a year for their son to attend (via Express). Like most schools during the pandemic, Eagle House School began teaching remotely in 2020, meaning James was attending virtual classes, something he didn't mind. "My younger one frankly thinks being at home and online is fantastic," said Prince Edward in an interview with Sky News. He also admitted it wasn't easy to deal with the changes in the kids' routines.

"I have to say half term came at just the right time because it was very interesting the frustrations that were beginning to show," he explained. We're sure most parents felt that way! While we know James attended Eagle House, the school only serves those between the ages of three and 13. Seeing that he's now 14, it's likely he's attending a new school, though its name is unknown as of this writing. 

He received Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals from the queen

During the queen's vigil, the public caught a glimpse of James, Viscount Severn's medals. He donned his Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals that he received from his grandmother (via Hello! Magazine).

James was gifted the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 and the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee medal in 2022. While it isn't uncommon for royals to adorn medals, many viewers were perplexed as to why James had them.

One tweeted, "A 14-year-old grandson of the queen has 2 medals. Please explain." Another said in a tweet, "Amazing how many medals a fourteen-year-old can be awarded if they belong to the right family." Talk about harsh! The confusion is most likely due to James' lack of public appearances, so this was the first time he was seen wearing them (via VT.). Hopefully knowing that they're Jubilee medals cleared things up and made some a bit less judgmental.

He could be the next Earl of Wessex

Though his chances of becoming king anytime soon are slim, Viscount Severn could gain a new title in the near future. It's possible that James could go from Viscount Severn to Earl of Wessex, his father's current title. Why would this happen? 

Well, it's likely that his father, Prince Edward, will one day inherit his father Prince Phillip's title, Duke of Edinburgh. It's tradition that sons and grandsons receive the title of Duke at birth, but this wasn't the case for Prince Edward — something that was his choice. A royal courtier told The Telegraph, "Prince Edward was going to be the Duke of Cambridge, but he watched the film 'Shakespeare in Love,' which had a character called the Earl of Wessex. He liked the sound of it and asked the Queen if he could have that instead." 

Still, if or when Prince Edward receives the title Duke of Edinburgh, Viscount Severn will inherit the title of Earl. While his sister Lady Louise won't inherit any royal title, his mother will become a Duchess (via Woman and Home).

He could choose to use the title of His Royal Highness when he's 18

Speaking of titles, there's a new title he could gain in four years. Viscount Severn could possibly adopt the title His Royal Highness when he turns 18. Unlike most titles, a royal is allowed to choose whether they want the title of His, or Her, Royal Highness (via The Week). 

That being said, when he turns 18, it's up to him to decide if he wants the title that's been around since the early 18th century. Not all royals opt for the title; his sister Louise chose not to adopt the title Her Royal Highness when she turned 18 in 2021 (via Grazia Daily). 

Seeing that Viscount Severn is only 14, his decision remains unknown. Then again, he's got time, so there's no rush to make any choices just yet. We think it'd be pretty cool to have a title like His or Her Royal Highness, but maybe it won't be as appealing to him. 

He's remained largely out of the spotlight

While Viscount Severn rarely makes public appearances, he's been seen a bit more frequently in recent years.

His mother, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, was adamant about both of her children having "normal" lives. "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," she said (via Hello! Magazine). She also 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."

Imagine being a royal and having to get a job like anyone else! Sounds pretty humbling. Then again, a normal life doesn't sound too bad. Sophie told The Times, "They go to friends for sleepovers and parties. At weekends we do lots of dog walking and stay with friends."

He enjoys fly fishing

Fly-fishing has been a hobby of the royal family going as far back as 1872, so it's no surprise that Viscount Severn would also partake in the pastime (via The Literary Fly Fisher).

Prince George is the latest to join in on the royal tradition, learning at the Balmoral Castle, where the royal often spend their summers (via Business Times). Viscount Severn also learned at Balmoral, and enjoys it a great deal, something that pleased the late Queen Elizabeth II. "His enthusiasm for fly fishing delighted Her Majesty because it's a sport beloved of James's great-granny, the late Queen Mother," reported an insider (via Daily Mail).

His mother Sophie often joins James while he fishes. "Sophie, who is a keen fisherwoman herself, liked to stand with him. The Balmoral ghillies [gamekeepers] were impressed with both of them," said an insider (via The Sun). They also mentioned his father is not as apt: "Edward is not as keen because he's not as patient, which you need to be when fishing for salmon."