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The Edinburghs

The youngest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II turns 16 at the end of a year when he got a new title

The youngest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is turning 16. James, Earl of Wessex is celebrating his big day privately and his birthday comes at the end of a year that saw him change title.

Formerly known as Viscount Severn, the Earl of Wessex was born on 17 December 2007 at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey to Prince Edward and Sophie, now Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor was born by a caesarian section weighing 6lbs 2oz (2.8kg). His father told the media after his birth about his son, “like most babies, rather small, very cute and very cuddly”. He left the hospital with his parents on 20 December, and the next day his name was announced by Buckingham Palace.

He was christened in the Church of England on 19 April 2008 at the private chapel at Windsor Castle. His was a private christening and only one photo, taken by John Swannell was released to the media. James was the first royal baby to wear the hand-made replica christening gown commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II.

In a press release before the christening, Buckingham Palace explained, “The christening gown worn by Viscount Severn is a hand-made replica of Queen Victoria’s daughter’s christening gown, which was worn at subsequent Royal Christenings and has now been preserved. It is the first time this gown has been worn by a member of the Royal Family and was commissioned by The Queen.”

His godparents are Alastair Bruce, 5th Baron Aberdare; Duncan Bullivant; Denise Poulton; Jeanye Erwin; and Tom Hill.

The Earl of Wessex, who was eighth-in-line to the throne at birth, currently ranks 15th, and it was during Her Late Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant that he made his first official appearance as a member of the British Royal Family at four-years-old. He made his first appearance in the carriage procession at Trooping the Colour in 2016. However, he had been appearing on the balcony with the Royal Family for a few years before his parade debut.

James lives with his parents and older sister, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, at Bagshot Park in Surrey. He was known to have been very close to his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and was regularly seen riding out with her.

At the Lying-in-State at Westminster Hall last year, James was the youngest person to stand vigil at the coffin, alongside his sister and cousins.

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About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.