James, Viscount Severn
James, Viscount Severn (James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor; born 17 December 2007) is the second child and only son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO is the third son and fourth child of Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh...

, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and the youngest grandchild of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

. Viscount Severn is eighth in the line of succession
Line of succession to the British Throne
The line of succession to the British throne is the ordered sequence of those people eligible to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other 15 Commonwealth realms. By the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, the succession is limited to the descendants of the Electress Sophia of...

 to the thrones of 16 independent states
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...


Early life

Lord Severn was born by caesarean section
Caesarean section
A Caesarean section, is a surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a mother's abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies, or, rarely, to remove a dead fetus...

 at 16:20 UTC on 17 December 2007 at Frimley Park Hospital
Frimley Park Hospital
Frimley Park Hospital is a large, 720-bed NHS hospital in Frimley, Surrey, part of the Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.It opened in 1974 to provide a full range of district general hospital services for North East Hampshire and West Surrey, a catchment population of about 365,000...

. At birth he weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces (2.8 kg). Prince Edward, who was present for the birth of his second child, remarked that the birth was "a lot calmer than last time" (a reference to the emergency delivery of their first child, Lady Louise), that his wife was "doing very well," and that his son was "like most babies, rather small, very cute and very cuddly." The baby and his mother were released from hospital on 20 December, and the following day his names were announced as James Alexander Philip Theo. His sister, Lady Louise Windsor
Lady Louise Windsor
The Lady Louise Windsor is the elder child of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. She is the youngest granddaughter and second-youngest grandchild of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh...

, is four years his senior. The siblings live with their parents at Bagshot Park
Bagshot Park
Bagshot Park is a royal residence located near Bagshot, a village south west of Windsor and approximately north east of Guildford . It is the current home of The Earl and Countess of Wessex. Bagshot Park is on Bagshot Heath, a fifty square-mile tract of formerly open land in Surrey and Berkshire...

 in Surrey.

Lord Severn was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital
Great Ormond Street Hospital
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children is a children's hospital located in London, United Kingdom...

 in London on 24 January 2008 with what Buckingham Palace called a "minor allergic reaction." He was released from hospital within days.

Lord Severn was christened
Infant baptism
Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism or pedobaptism from the Greek pais meaning "child." The practice is sometimes contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or...

 on 19 April 2008 in the private chapel of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

 by the Dean of Windsor
Dean of Windsor
The Dean of Windsor is the spiritual head of the Canons of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Dean chairs meetings of the Chapter of Canons as primus inter pares.-List of Deans of Windsor:* William Mugge, 1348* Walter Almaly, 1380...

, Bishop David Conner. His christening gown
Baptismal clothing
Baptismal clothing is apparel worn by Christian proselytes during the ceremony of baptism.-Eastern Orthodoxy:...

 was a newly made replica of the gown originally used by his great-great-great-grandaunt, Princess Victoria
Victoria, Princess Royal
The Princess Victoria, Princess Royal was the eldest child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert. She was created Princess Royal of the United Kingdom in 1841. She became German Empress and Queen of Prussia by marriage to German Emperor Frederick III...

, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, in 1840. It has been worn for most royal christenings since then, and the old gown has now been preserved. Severn's godparents are Denise Poulton, Jeanye Irwin, Alastair Bruce, Duncan Bullivant and Tom Hill.

Titles and styles

  • 17 December 2007 – present: Viscount Severn

Letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 issued in 1917 (and still remaining in force today) assign a princely status and the style of Royal Highness
Royal Highness
Royal Highness is a style ; plural Royal Highnesses...

to all male-line grandchildren of a monarch. Therefore, all else being equal, James would have been styled as His Royal Highness Prince James of Wessex. However, when his parents married, the Queen, via a Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

 press release, announced that (in hopes of avoiding some of the burdens associated with royal titles) their children would be styled as the children of an earl, rather than as princes or princesses. The eldest son of an earl is customarily accorded one of his father's subsidiary titles by courtesy
Courtesy title
A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used for children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer. These styles are used 'by courtesy' in the sense that the relatives do not themselves hold substantive titles...

, thus James is named as Viscount Severn, and court communications never refer to him as a prince of the United Kingdom
British prince
This is a list of British princes from the accession of George I in 1714. The title of prince is at the will of the sovereign, who can both grant and revoke the title. Individuals holding the title of prince will usually also be styled His Royal Highness or formerly His Highness...

, but simply as Viscount Severn. There are two opposing opinions as to whether or not James is "legally" a prince and His Royal Highness: Some experts consider the Queen's press release to not have enough legal force to override the 1917 letters patent, whereas other experts contend that the Queen's will, however expressed, is law in matters of royal titles and styles. If the latter is the case, then the 1960 letters patent is also applicable and James bears (but is not styled with) the surname Mountbatten-Windsor
Mountbatten-Windsor is the personal surname of some of the descendants of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh under an ambiguously-worded Order in Council issued in 1960, and as such a cadet branch of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg , which in turn is a branch of...



In June 2008, to recognise a visit by his father to the Canadian province
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 of Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba is the viceregal representative in Manitoba of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who operates distinctly within the province but is also shared equally with the ten other jurisdictions of Canada and resides predominantly in her oldest realm, the United...

The Queen-in-Council is, in each of the Commonwealth realms, the technical term of constitutional law that refers to the exercise of executive authority, denoting the monarch acting by and with the advice and consent of his or her privy council or executive council The Queen-in-Council (during...

 named a lake in the north of the province after Lord Severn.


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