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Queen II’s youngest grandchild, James, Viscount Severn, 14, stands vigil at her coffin

Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest grandchild, James, Viscount Severn, joined his cousins as they paid their respects to the late monarch on Saturday.

James, who is the 14-year-old son of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, took part in a 15-minute silent family vigil at the queen’s lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.

The vigil was attended by the queen’s seven other grandchildren, including James’ sister Lady Louise, 18 and cousins Prince William, 40, Prince Harry, 38, Peter Phillips, 44, Zara Tindall, 41, Princess Beatrice, 34, and Princess Eugenie, 32.

The teenager appeared solemn as he stood guard by the side of his late grandmother’s coffin with his head bowed. His parents Edward and Sophie were also in attendance as they watched their two children stand vigil from a viewing platform. 


Along with his male cousins, James wore the commemorative medals that were given to them by the queen. He pinned his 2012 Diamond and 2022 Platinum Jubilee medals to the front of his black suit.

The family vigil was witnessed by members of the public, who had waited in the 16-hour queue in order to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 96 on Sept. 8.

Mourners continued to stream by the royals as they stood guard by queen’s coffin until the vigil ended at 6:15pm.

Hello! magazine reported that the Wessexes decided to attend the grandchildren’s vigil to support their teenage children, who are comparatively younger than their cousins.

Sophie, who shared a close relationship with Queen Elizabeth, was pictured looking teary-eyed as she watched the ceremony.

It was a rare public appearance for James, who mostly keeps out of the spotlight. Of his decision to attend the vigil with his cousins, a royal source told People magazine that “the grandchildren, at the King’s invitation, are very keen to pay their respects.” 

Aside from attending major royal events with their parents, James and Louise lead relatively private lives. Edward and Sophie declined to give their children prince and princess titles, though they may opt to use the titles after they turn 18.

According to a 1917 decree issued by King George V, the children and grandchildren of a reigning sovereign have the automatic right to the titles prince or princess and HRH (His/Her Royal Highness).

The Countess of Wessex explained her and Edward’s decision to not give their children titles in 2020 interview with the Times of London.

“We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living,” she said. “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.”

At 14, James is close to the ages that Prince William and Prince Harry were when they walked behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin during her funeral on Sept. 6, 1997. At the time, William was 15 and Harry was 12. 

In a 2017 BBC documentary, William described taking part in the funeral procession from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey as “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, that walk.”


The Prince of Wales continued, “It felt like she [Diana] was almost walking along beside us to get us through it.”

On Thursday, William and his wife Kate, Princess of Wales, greeted well-wishers outside Sandringham as they viewed floral tributes left by members of the public.

Mourner Jane Wells told the Telegraph that William had shared his thoughts on joining the Queen’s funeral procession on Thursday.

“He said how difficult it was yesterday and how it reminded him of his mum’s funeral,” Wells said.

After the procession, William attended a service honoring the queen at Westminster Hall along with Harry, King Charles, Queen Camilla and other senior royals. James, Louise and other royal cousins were also in attendance.

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