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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Emily Atkinson

Who is Viscount Severn? Queen’s 14 year old grandson who stood vigil by coffin

Getty Images

The Queen’s eight grandchildren took part in a silent vigil by her coffin two days before her funeral, in a historic first.

Just as King Charles had led his siblings in the Vigil of the Princes on Friday evening, his son Prince William was joined by his brother Harry and their cousins in Westminster Hall for the brief ceremony.

James, Viscount Severen, (centre) flanked by Princess Beatrice and Prince Harry during the vigil at Westminster Hall (Getty Images)
Viscount Severn and his sister Lady Louise Windsor during the procession for the lying in state (Getty Images)

The others taking part included Prince Andrew’s children Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie; Princess Anne’s two children Zara Tindall and Peter Philips and Prince Edward’s daughter Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor.

But the eighth member of the group was a less familiar face - the Queen’s youngest grandchild, and Louise’s brother, James.

The 14-year-old, who has the title Viscount Severn, gave a rare public appearance as he stood vigil beside his grandmother’s coffin, in a sombre show of mourning for the late monarch.

The frequency with which James’ sister, Lady Louise, has appeared in public has increased of late given her age, while her brother has remained largely out of public view.

The teenager’s title is intended to acknowleged the Welsh roots of his mother’s family (Getty Images)

But in a poignant tribute to his grandmother, who is lying in state in Westminster Hall, James united with his family by her coffin, which was draped in the Royal Standard, and topped with the Imperial State Crown, and orb and sceptre.

James is the second child of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who married in June 1999. He was born in December 2007, some four years after Louise, who arrived in November 2003.

When both children were born, Edward and Sophie opted not to give the pair royal titles – although it is at the discretion of James and Louise at to whether they choose to receive the prince and princess titles when they turn 18.

James’ parents Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, arrive for the vigil (Getty Images)

“We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living,” the Countess of Wessex previously said about their decision to not give their children titles. “Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think it’s highly unlikely.”

James is currently 13th in line to the throne, while his sister is 14th, having both been born before the Succession to the Crown Act in 2013, which made it that birth order determines who will become the next king or queen, regardless of gender.

Though rarely seen, James has attended a number of high-profile royal events, including the Commonwealth Games, the platinum jubilee Trooping the Colour parade, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding a few months later.

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