Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The littlest royals

James, Viscount Severn occupies a special place in the British Royal Family.  He is the youngest grandchild of the Queen and as such, the full stop at the end of that chapter of her family.  James will never wear his granny's crown but, like his father Edward, he is an heir to the rock solid couple of Elizabeth II and Philip Mountbatten.  For one day, James will be the Duke of Edinburgh as Philip's title will pass to his youngest son and then, in time, to his only son.

James Alexander Philip Theo, Viscount Severn looking very like his daddy and just like papa he will one day be Duke of Edinburgh, inheriting the title of his family's patriarch
In that sense James, who turns six today, has got a far more noble deal than the other royal full stops dotted around Europe.  While some families are still building their nursery of grandchildren, most know that the cot and the changing mat have been put away for a few more years and the littlest little one of all has taken their place in the dynastic story.  The youngest branch of the royal house of Norway is, like James, a school pupil in England but no one would ever guess from her name that she descends from one of the oldest monarchies in the world.  Emma Behn, born in August 2008, is the third daughter of Princess Martha Louise and her husband, Ari Behn, but will probably never hold a title let alone a crown. 
Emma Tallulah Behn, seen with her sisters Maud and Leah. 
Emma's name, like those of her sisters, may well crop up in articles in a couple of decades time about the girls most likely to marry Prince Christian of Denmark but other than that, obscurity in a comfortable life beckons while her cousin, Ingrid Alexandra, takes on the mantle of monarchy.  The youngest Danish royal of her generation will be slightly less below the radar.  Princess Athina of Denmark is the youngest child of Prince Joachim and his second wife, Marie, and could yet lose her place as the littlest of the family should the couple have another child.  But for the moment, Athena, holds that title and, like most other full stops, she is a distant name in the line of succession (tenth at the moment and counting).
Princess Athena Marguerite Francoise Marie, Countess of Monpezat, born on January 24th 2012, is tenth in line to her country's throne and looking more like her mummy every day
Kin Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is about to get another grandchild, in March, but for now his eldest and youngest is future queen regnant, Estelle, born in February 2012.  He himself was the youngest grandson of Gustaf VI Adolf but succeeded to his throne in 1973.
 Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary of Sweden is the youngest grandchild of the Swedish monarchs until March 2014 when her little cousin is due to be born
In Spain, the honour of being the youngest grandchild goes to the Infanta Sofia, the second daughter of the Prince and Princess of Asturias.  Born in April 2007, she is third in line to the throne and heiress to the heiress - her big sister, Infanta Leonor.
Infanta Sofia of Spain with sister, Leonor, get their first taste of embarrassing dad syndrome as Prince Felipe fails to dress for the weather
It will be many years before the kings of Belgium and the Netherlands have any grandchildren at all, let alone one to be the final chapter of that part of their story.  James, Viscount Severn is in well to do company.

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