Queen Elizabeth famously had eight grandchildren, but her youngest, James, Viscount Severn, 15, is closer in age to her great-grandchildren than most of his cousins.
James is the total baby of the family as he’s also Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward’s youngest child.
Their eldest, Lady Louise Windsor, now 19, has been lauded as a royal up-and-comer, and we’re sure James’ moment is coming!
After all, the royal allegedly takes on some of the late Prince Philip’s signature roles in the family.
Without further ado, get to know why he’s such “a hit” in the royal fold.
The story behind James, Viscount Severn’s name and title
The royal’s full name is James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor.
His title, Viscount Severn, derives from a decision made by his parents before he was even conceived.
As reported by the BBC, the newlyweds asked for approval from The Queen in June 1999 to allow their children to receive courtesy titles of the Children of Earl instead of Prince and Princess – which led to Viscount Severn.
“It is thought this decision was made to avoid some of the burdens of royal titles,” wrote the BBC.
Interestingly, Viscount Severn comes from Edward’s subsidiary titles and sweetly references Sophie’s Welsh heritage of the River Severn.
In 2020, Sophie told The Sunday Times that she didn’t want to give her children royal titles so they could live a normal life.
“We try to educate them with the understanding that they will most likely have to work for a living,” she said.
“That is why we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them after 18, but I think it is very unlikely.”
Interestingly, James has a lake named after him in Vancouver, Canada, like his sister.
The Vancouver Sun reported in 2008 that Edward received framed notices proclaiming two Northwestern Manitoba lakes after his two children, who were four and five months at the time.
When was James born?
James came into the world on December 17, 2007, via caesarean birth in Surrey, a county just outside London.
His father, Edward proudly told the BBC his son was “very cute and very cuddly.”
Viscount Severn’s royal title and succession to the throne
The teen is 14th in line for the throne, above his sister Louise in the line of succession, who is 13th.
When Princess Charlotte was born in 2015, the Queen gave royal daughters equal right to ascend the throne.
Seeing double? James is the spitting image of a young Prince Harry
The royal shares an uncanny resemblance to his cousin Prince Harry!
The Mountbatten-Windsor genes are clearly strong, with James sharing the same dishevelled haircut, narrow face, and cheeky attitude.
When you see them side by side, it’s incredible how much likeness they share.
In fact, if it weren’t for the different quality of these images, one may not be able to tell them apart.
What royal duties has James performed so far?
James hasn’t made many official public approaches, thanks to his parents’ goal to protect him and his sister from public life.
In April 2015, the young royal and Louise went on their first overseas engagement with their parents to visit the Ubunye Foundation in Grahamstown in South Africa,
Their mother, a patron for the non-profit organisation, explained why she felt it was important her children came along.
“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 said.
James’ most recent trip in September 2020 was also with his family to help Southsea Beach water volunteers for the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean.
The Viscount was photographed smiling while picking up rubbish with green rubber gloves.
Why Viscount Severn is a favourite in the family
It appears James has an energetic spirit and likes to get involved during family events.
In 2019, The Sun reported that he was a hit during the summer holidays at Balmoral because he takes on outdoor activities with infectious enthusiasm.
He also enjoyed taking on his late-grandfather, Prince Philip’s duties when he couldn’t help anymore because of his ill health.
A royal source told the publication that the Viscount “is rather good at flipping burgers and liked to get fully involved whenever there was a family barbecue at Balmoral.”
They added, “That used to be Prince Philip’s domain, but is less so these days.”
Perhaps James will continue honouring his grandfather’s legacy by working the grill at more family functions.
He also struck an affectionate bond with his late-grandmother thanks to his keen interest in salmon fishing.
“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. Edward is not as keen because he’s not as patient, which you need to be when fishing for salmon, even in the plentiful Dee,” a source told The Sun.