A rare interview with Sophie, Countess of Wessex this week focused primarily on the royal's recent trip to South Sudan, and her campaign against sexual violence. But the profile, published in the Times, also offered a window into her family's home life, and their position in the larger structure of the modern monarchy.
While both Sophie and her husband, Queen Elizabeth's youngest child Prince Edward, support and represent the monarchy as working royals, the Countess maintains that their children, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn, have at least a somewhat normal life.
“What’s normal? They go to a regular school," Sophie told interviewer Christina Lamb, who clarified that both Louise and James "attend top independent schools."
"They go to friends for sleepovers and parties. At weekends we do lots of dog walking and stay with friends. I guess not everyone’s grandparents live in a castle, but where you are going is not the important part, or who they are. When they are with the Queen, she is their grandmother."
But unlike their cousin Prince William, Louise and James are unlikely to join the family business.
The path Lady Louise will take appears clear to the Countess: “[Lady Louise is] working hard and will do A-levels. I hope she goes to university. I wouldn’t force her, but if she wants to. She’s quite clever, so I think probably," Sophie said, but she's less sure about what her son will do. "Whereas James I don’t know,” she said.
Regardless of James's future career, it won't come as a complete surprise that he won't be following in his father's footsteps.
"We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living," Sophie 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."
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