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Eileen Prince

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Eileen Snape (née Prince)
Biographical information

c. 1930-1935[1], Great Britain or Ireland

Blood status

Pure-blood[2] (possibly)

Marital status


Physical information




Skin colour


Family information
Family members

Slytherin[6] (possibly)

Hermione Granger: " [...] there was a tiny announcement about Eileen Prince marrying a Muggle called Tobias Snape and then later an announcement saying that she'd given birth to a —"
Harry Potter: "— murderer."
— Hermione revealing Snape's parentage, and Harry's contempt[src]

Eileen Snape (née Prince) (b. c. 1930-1935[1]) was a British witch, wife to the Muggle Tobias Snape and mother to Severus Snape.[7]


Early life

Eileen Prince was born into the wizarding Prince family[7] in Great Britain sometime between 1930 and 1935.[1]

Eileen began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry between 1941 and 1946[1] and was presumably Sorted into Slytherin.[6] According to an old Daily Prophet clipping found by Hermione Granger, when Eileen was in her fifth year at Hogwarts she was Captain of the school Gobstones team.[3] She was concurrently the President of the Hogwarts Gobstone Club during her time at school.[4]


Young Snape DH2

Eileen's son, Severus.

Shortly after graduating, Eileen met the Muggle Tobias Snape and married him.[7] They moved into a dilapidated terraced house in a slum neighbourhood on a street called Spinner's End in Cokeworth, close to the mill by a nasty-smelling, polluted river.[8]

On 9 January, 1960, Eileen gave birth to a baby boy, Severus Snape.[7] Severus's early life was marked by a tumultuous, explosive atmosphere at home, with fights frequently breaking out between his parents.[5] Tobias, his father, would often shout at Eileen, leaving their son crying in the corner whilst she cowered in fear.[5]

Eileen struggled to care for her son whilst living in abject poverty and struck regularly by her husband's abuse; although she often argued back, this never worked well for her.[8] Despite this, Severus often looked as though he was not well cared-for and often wore ridiculously mismatched clothes that were far too large for him.[8]

On 1 September, 1971, Eileen accompanied Severus to Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters at King's Cross Station to see him off on the Hogwarts Express.[8] Although looking sullen, it can be presumed that she was somewhat happy to see her son leave the abuse at home; he looked exceptionally overjoyed.[8]

Later life

It is unknown precisely what happened to Eileen, but by the time Severus joined the Order of the Phoenix and began teaching at Hogwarts in September 1981, their home in Spinner's End was deserted.[9] It can thus be presumed that Eileen had either moved away or died.

Physical appearance

Eileen at age fifteen was very skinny and unattractive, looking simultaneously cross and sullen, with heavy brows and a long, pallid face[3]. By 1971, not much had changed: Eileen was thin, hunched, sour-faced and sallow[8].


"Eileen" is from Celtic, English and Irish roots and has a long-standing history in each culture. In Irish it is known as a variation of "Helen". It became a more popular name in the 19th century. It is rumoured to have roots in Latin, American, French and Greek cultures, however such claims are not backed up with much evidence. Another variation of this name is Eileene which is most commonly used in Ireland.

Other versions of Eileen; "Aileen" (Scottish), "Eibhlin" (the original source for the name), "Eila" (Celtic variant of both "Eileen" and "Aileen"), "Eireen" (Norwegian variant of "Irene" or "Eileen"), "Eleanor" (a similarly-rooted name to "Eileen" in Irish).

Eileen's maiden name was PrincePrince is a general term for a monarch or a member of a monarch's family, and is a hereditary title of some European royalty, likely alluding to the aristocratic status of pure-blood families in the wizarding world. The word is derived from the Latin princeps, meaning "a prime", which was one of the titles of the Roman Emperor, in which case it was generally translated as "First Citizen". The Prince is also the title of a famous political treatise by Niccolò Machiavelli; an interesting point considering that the adjective derived from the author's surname, Machiavellian, is defined as "attempting to achieve goals by cunning, scheming and unscrupulous methods", which may allude to the ideal traits of Slytherin house.[10]

Behind the scenes

  • At Hogwarts, her son Severus used her surname and his blood status to make his nickname of "the Half-Blood Prince".


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 As Eileen's sixth-year Potions book was published "around" 50 years prior to 1996 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 16 (A Very Frosty Christmas)), it could have been published anytime between 1946 and 1951; assuming Eileen bought it new, and she being sixteen at the time, she would have to have been born between 1930 and 1935.
  2. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb), Harry speaks of Snape playing up "pure-blood mother, Muggle father", but the article Hermione reads never specifically says Eileen was pure-blood.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 25 (The Seer Overheard)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: "Gobstones"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn); Slughorn states that family members are usually Sorted into the same House. This may indicate that Eileen was Sorted into Slytherin. Additional supporting evidence is that Severus wanted to be in Slytherin before he even got to school, potentially from hearing about his mother being in Slytherin.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 2 (Spinner's End)
  10. Wiktionary Definition: Machiavellian

Hogwarts Gobstones Team
Known Captains
Eileen Prince
Gobstones players
David Boorman · Felix Brunt · Poppy Caxton · Fay Dunbar · Craig Dunn · Cordelia Gifford · Gryffindor boy · Gryffindor boy's friend · Jason Swann · Gareth Pewsey · Bastien Queensbury · Ivan Renshaw · Arman Shettigar · Vikram Thakur · Nigel Wroxton · Zara Valli

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