Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

James, Viscount Severn: How royal’s name is heartwarming nod to Prince Philip

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The full name of the 12-year-old son of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex is James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor. The middle name Philip is a touching tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, while Alexander could be named after a relative of his. King Alexander of Greece is Philip’s uncle, who ruled his home country for just three years between 1917 and 1920.

Alexander succeeded his father Constantine I during World War 1 but his status was reduced to that of a puppet king.

He caused controversy when he married a commoner, Aspasia Manos, and had to leave the country for a few months.

Soon after returning, Alexander was bitten by a monkey and died from sepsis.

James’ surname Mountbatten-Windsor is also a reference to Philip’s family, and one that would have made the Duke overjoyed.

James was only the second descendent of Philip’s to take his name, after his older sister Lady Louise Windsor.

Mountbatten is an anglicised version of Battenberg, Philip’s mother Princess Alice’s maiden name.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born into the Greek and Danish royal families, but he grew up in exile after an anti-Monarchist movement in Greece.

He was persuaded by his uncle Lord Mounbatten to take on his mother’s name, but after marrying Princess Elizabeth in 1947, who became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, he was told that all his descendants would carry her name of Windsor only.

When Charles was born in 1948 and not given the name Mountbatten, Philip reportedly shouted it made him “an amoeba, a b****y amoeba”.

When the Queen came to the throne, she was pressured by Winston Churchill’s Cabinet to continue the Windsor name, chosen by George V in 1917 to replace the German name Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, because of the anti-German sentiment at the time.

Although she understood her husband’s view, she agreed that her descendants should “bear the family name of Windsor”.

Philip complained at the time that he was the “only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children”.

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In 1960, however, the Queen made the concession that those of her descendants who were not entitled to the HRH title, were not a prince or princess, or a female descendant who married, could use the name Mountbatten.

When the Earl and Countess of Wessex decided not to give their children HRH titles, this meant they could take on Philip’s name.

Their first child was named Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor in 2003, and then James was born in 2007.

James has been styled as James, Viscount Severn, in reference to his father’s secondary title.

here is only one more descendent of Philip with the surname Mountbatten now, and that is Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex choose to have any more children, they will also bear this name.

James’ sister Louise’s name also has references to Philip’s family.

Her middle name Alice, for example, is a touching nod to Philip’s mother Princess Alice.

Meanwhile, her first name Louise could be a reference to Alice’s sister Louise Mountbatten, and her brother Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

Louis Mountbatten, more commonly referred to as Lord Mountbatten, was influential in both Philip and Charles’ lives, acting as a mentor for them, before he was killed by the IRA in 1979.

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