Since the arrival of the children of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, questions about their titles have arisen. And those debates could continue after their mother confirmed that how they are styled is still open to changes.
When Edward and Sophie married, it was announced that any children they had would be styled as children of dukes rather than as HRHs. However, Letters Patent issued by King George V state that the children of a Monarch’s son are HRHs. That’s led to repeated discussions about whether the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children are, in fact, a princess and prince.
Now, we have it direct from the Countess that her children are HRHs – they just choose not to use that style.
Speaking to the Sunday Times magazine, in a feature by Christina Lamb, Sophie confirms that her daughter, Louise, and her son, James, are styled according to their parents’ preferences. Their daughter is Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and their son is known as James, Viscount Severn.
The Countess of Wessex says there is a very good reason for that as she and her husband are bringing up their children to realise that ‘’they are very likely to have to work for a living….hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles.’’
But just as that clarification is made, the possibility of a new debate about the titles of sixteen year old Louise and twelve year old James arises. Sophie tells the magazine that, when it comes to the style of HRH, her children ‘’have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think it’s highly unlikely.’’
That opens up the possibility that, in December 2021, the Queen’s youngest granddaughter could choose to be known as HRH Princess Louise with her brother following suit as HRH Prince James when he turns 18 in 2025.
However, it could bring added pressures and, with their parents clearly keen for them not to use them, it would seem likely that the Queen’s youngest grandchildren will remain Lady Louise and Viscount Severn.