Queen’s eldest grandson, wife split up
Friends have expressed fears that Autumn might follow Harry and Meghan and return to her native Canada
- Published 12.02.20, 1:44 AM
- Updated 12.02.20, 1:44 AM
- 2 mins read
The Queen has suffered another family upset with the news that her eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, is splitting up from his Canadian wife, Autumn, after 12 years of marriage.
There is speculation that Autumn somehow wants to emulate the example of Meghan Markle and call it quits as far as Britain’s royal family is concerned.
Friends of the couple have expressed fears that Autumn might follow Harry and Meghan and return to her native Canada.
She and Peter have two daughters, Savannah, nine, and Isla, seven, who have joint Canadian-British citizenship. There are already suggestions that should the couple divorce, Autumn might want to take the children with her.
There has so far been no official comment from Buckingham Palace but it is being widely and authoritatively reported that it was Autumn, who took her husband by surprise by telling him she wanted to end their marriage.
Peter, 42, is the son of Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, who married in 1973 and divorced in 1992.
Autumn Kelly, as she was before marriage, is also the child of divorced parents, who split up when she was eight. She was born in Montreal, graduated from McGill University in East Asian studies and met Peter in 2003 at the Canadian Grand Prix.
She moved to London to be with Peter and gave up her Catholic faith so that he could retain his place in the line of succession after marriage.
Peter, who works in sports sponsorship, does not have an HRH title but is notionally 15th in line to the throne. After graduating from Exeter University in sports science, he worked for Jaguar as a corporate hospitality manager before taking a position at the Williams Grand Prix Engineering team.
Unlike Harry, he is not a “senior royal” but the 93-year-old Queen, who is said to have an especially soft spot for her eldest grandchild, is reported to be “upset” with this latest twist in the saga of the Windsor family.
The Queen is also said to be fond of Autumn, who made a rare public appearance alongside her at the annual Highland Games Gathering in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, in September.
Newspapers have quoted a “friend” as saying: “Peter is absolutely devastated by this and just didn’t see it coming. He thought he was happily married and had the perfect family with two lovely daughters. But he is now in total shock.
“Autumn is a wonderful wife and mother and a very intelligent woman but she’s been telling her friends for some time that there were issues.It’s the last thing she (the Queen) needs after all her recent troubles and you get the feeling that the Royal Family is falling apart a little bit.”
Another source revealed: “What worries some of us is that Autumn may want to go back to Canada. Maybe she has been influenced by
Harry and Meghan’s departure. Perhaps she thought if that can happen then I can leave as well? That might be unfair on her but you have to consider it.”
What caused the marriage split is not known but no one else is said to be involved.
In discussing how Harry and Meghan will make their money in future, attention focused last month on Peter after he appeared in a bizarre milk advert for a Chinese company.
In the television advert for Bright Dairies, shown only on Dragon TV in China, Peter is seen being brought a glass of milk by a butler.
“This is what I drink,” he says, as the tagline reads, “British royal family member, Peter Phillips.”
After their formal marriage in St George’s Chapel in Windsor in 2008, Peter and Autumn raised eyebrows by selling their wedding photos to Hello! magazine for a reported £500,000. Palace aides let it be known at the time that the Queen was not happy with the decision.