James, Viscount Severn & Queen Elizabeth II Bonded Over This Hobby

The late monarch’s youngest grandchild is 14th in line to the throne.

by Sophie McEvoy
James, Viscount Severn at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August 2022
Getty Images/Max Mumby/Indigo

In a moving mark of respect, Queen Elizabeth II's eight grandchildren stood vigil beside her coffin at Westminster Hall on Sept. 17. The late monarch's youngest grandchild, James, Viscount Severn, 14, followed the lead of his cousins at the ceremony titled the Vigil of the Princes. Born to Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, James is one of the lesser seen members of the royal family. But as he grows, so does his spotlight. With that in mind, here's everything you need to know about the young Viscount and where you may have seen him before.

Currently 14th in line to the throne, James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor was born in 2007 at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey. As Edward and Sophie were given the Earl and Countess of Wessex titles when they married in 1999, their children inherited the traditional markers of Viscount and Lady. As for the title of Severn, this is derived from the River Severn in Wales, referring to Sophie's “Welsh familial roots,” according to Tatler.

James was raised in the royal residence of Bagshot Park, 10 miles south of Windsor. The Earl and Countess of Wessex moved into the property in 1999, and for the most part, have raised their children — James and Lady Louise, 18 — out of the spotlight. “Certainly when they were very young, we tried to keep them out of it,” Sophie told the BBC in 2016. “Only because for their sakes, to grow up as normally as possible we felt was quite important.”

Speaking to The Sunday Times, the Countess of Wessex said that she and Edward tried “to bring [the children] up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living” and to give them the decision on whether they would like to use HRH titles. “They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but it's highly unlikely,” she said.

The royal family attended the 2022 Commonwealth Games together in Birmingham over the summerMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

As of 2020, James attends the Eagle House School near Sandhurst in Berkshire, reports Metro. And for now, he appears to be focused on his school work and hobbies — one of which is reportedly a love of fly fishing. “His enthusiasm for fly fishing delighted Her Majesty, because it's a sport beloved of James' great-granny, the late Queen Mother,” a source told The Sun. “James was in the Dee as often as possible, waders up to his armpits,” they continued. “His mother Sophie, a keen fisherwoman herself, liked to stand with him.”

While James and his sister don't take part in nearly as many royal engagements as their cousins, largely due to their age, they accompanied their parents in 2015 during a visit to the Ubunye Foundation in South Africa, of which their mother is a patron. They also participated in the Marine Conservation Society's Great British Beach Clean with their parents in 2020.