Peter Phillips Dropped A Major Bombshell About His Marriage – And It’s Left Royal Fans Reeling

Peter Phillips Dropped A Major Bombshell About His Marriage – And It’s Left Royal Fans Reeling

There’s been a lot of drama for the royal family in recent times – mostly because of that Oprah interview. But while Meghan and Harry have been making waves and causing controversy, one huge bombshell probably slipped your attention. Peter Phillips – the man long rumored to be the Queen’s most beloved grandchild – has made a shocking announcement about his marriage. His famous grandma probably wasn’t amused when she heard, either.

Happily Married?

For over a decade, Phillips has been married to a Canadian former management consultant named Autumn Kelly. The pair tied the knot back in 2008 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor – the same place where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would have their wedding years later. Since then, they’ve also gone on to have two daughters: Savannah and Isla.

The Princesses Son

And although Phillips isn’t a so-called “working royal,” he’s very much still part of the family’s inner circle; his mother is Princess Anne, after all. Yet neither he nor his sister, Zara, have titles – a decision that was apparently made at the behest of the Princess Royal herself.

A Long Way Down

There’s no denying Phillips’ place in the royal family, though. In fact, when Anne’s firstborn came into the world, he was immediately fifth in line to become ruler of the United Kingdom. Nowadays, he’s 15th in line, meaning he’ll almost certainly never sit on the throne, but it’s unlikely he’s too put out about it. Phillips has had success on his own terms, you see, having worked for Jaguar and the Royal Bank of Scotland; he’s also currently managing director of a company called SEL UK.

Low Key Profile

Still, despite his prestigious family tree, Phillips has kept himself out of the public eye to such an extent that his future wife wasn’t even aware he was a royal. She only found out the true identity of her new boyfriend when she and her mother saw him on TV – more than a month after Kelly and Phillips had begun dating.

Normal Roots

Kelly herself comes from non-aristocratic roots, having lived a normal life in Canada before meeting Phillips. Her parents, Kathleen and Brian, also split when she was still young, although their relationship from that point was supposedly amicable. Both Brian and Kathleen went on to marry other people, meaning Kelly gained some step-siblings as she got older. And when she went to college, she took a job in a bar to help pay the bills – just like other regular folk.

Dabbling In Acting

Kelly also worked as an actress for a time while studying at McGill University, winning a couple of small roles in the 1996 movie Rainbow and a TV show called Sirens. In the end, though, she didn’t pursue a full-time screen career, instead becoming a management consultant after graduation.

Immediate Attraction

Then Phillips and Kelly had their first encounter at the 2003 Montreal Grand Prix, where both of them were working. And in 2008 a supposed associate of the royal revealed more about that meeting to The Daily Telegraph, saying, “Peter couldn’t take his eyes off her. Within five minutes, he had managed to engage her in conversation.”

Invite To The Afterparty

The unnamed source went on, “[Phillips] had to go off to do some official business. But within half an hour, he was back and had managed to get [Kelly’s] mobile telephone number [and] her email address and invite her and three of her friends to the Formula One post-race party. He certainly wasn’t going to let her disappear.”

Queen’s 80th Birthday Bash

After that, Kelly relocated to the U.K., eventually taking a job as an assistant to famed television presenter Sir Michael Parkinson. During this period, she also met the Queen and other high-ranking members of the royal family, even scoring an invite to a party thrown in celebration of the monarch turning 80.

Announcing Engagement

Then, in July 2007, the official announcement of an engagement was made. A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace declared, “The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips are pleased to announce the engagement of their son, Peter Phillips, to Autumn, daughter of Mr. Brian and Mrs. Kitty Kelly.” This was set to be the first royal union since Prince Charles had wed Camilla in 2005.

Going With The Flow

Apparently, Phillips had proposed to Kelly in a relatively down-to-earth manner, having popped the question while he and his girlfriend were outside in the rain taking their dog for a stroll. Phillips had reportedly already asked Kelly’s dad for permission to make the move, and he had even arranged for a hot-air balloon as the setting for the romantic moment. But when the balloon was canceled due to bad weather, he had decided to propose at ground level instead.

Religious Bloodlines

Then, before the wedding took place, Kelly joined the Anglican Church. The young woman had previously been baptized into the Catholic Church, but this itself posed a problem. You see, members of the British royal family are prohibited from marrying Catholics, and if Phillips had opted to wed Kelly before her conversion, he would’ve lost his position in the line of succession.

About The Ceremony…

Finally, the big day arrived on May 17, 2008. For the momentous occasion, Kelly wore a tiara loaned to her by her husband’s mother, while her new sister-in-law Zara served as one of her bridesmaids. But there was one aspect of the wedding ceremony that caused a lot of controversy.

Sorry, Your Majesty!

Specifically, the bride and groom had allowed Hello! magazine to document their wedding – reportedly in exchange for a sum of £500,000. And apparently the royal family were not at all pleased about that decision. It didn’t help, either, that photos of the Queen and other senior royals were emblazoned across the publication’s pages as part of the feature.

Politicians Speak Out

In fact, the Queen had even not been told beforehand that she would be in the magazine. And the resulting furor saw some British politicians get involved. At the time, Member of Parliament Ian Gibson declared, “The British public would expect the Queen to rise above being pictured in the pages of Hello! She is the Queen, not a footballer’s wife.”

No Permission Granted

According to a contemporary report by the Daily Mail, Princes William and Harry were also said to be “deeply unhappy” about the situation. The fact that their respective partners had been photographed at the ceremony without their express permission proved to be a particular sticking point.

Banning Magazine Deals

As a result, the Queen allegedly banned her family members from taking magazine deals in the future. A few days after the wedding, a person described as a “senior royal source” told The Daily Telegraph, “It will never ever happen again. In hindsight, it should never have happened in the first place.”

Welcoming Baby Savannah

Yet that incident didn’t seem to completely sour Phillips’ relationship with his grandmother. Perhaps it helped that when Savannah was born in 2010, she finally made the Queen a great-grandmother. An official statement on the matter read, “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Princess Royal, Captain Mark Phillips and Autumn’s family have been informed [of the birth] and are delighted with the news.”

The Middle Name

Phillips and Kelly’s second child, Isla, followed in 2012. And given that the new arrival’s middle name was Elizabeth, there was some speculation as to whether this move was some kind of nod to the Queen. The family neither confirmed nor denied this rumor, however.

Playing Favorites

In any case, Phillips would sing his grandmother’s praises in a 2016 article for The Daily Telegraph. The piece promoted an event called The Patron’s Lunch – held in honor of the British monarch’s 90th birthday – with Phillips being described in the headline as “the Queen’s favorite grandson.”

The Highest Honor

In the Telegraph article, Phillips shared some tidbits about his relationship with his famous grandma, writing, “I’ve always been very close to my grandmother, and we speak often. She has been an inspirational person throughout my life, so to be able to do something like this for her is an honor.”

Recognizing Hard Work

Phillips went on, “As a child, I would attend charity events with my parents in school holidays. But as I’ve grown older, the sheer number of causes of which the Queen is patron has become clear. So, too, has her commitment to every one of them – and that’s an extraordinary achievement.”

Hand In Hand

Special occasions aside, Phillips and Kelly largely remained out of the spotlight as they raised their two children. Yet they naturally were present at the biggest royal event of 2018: the wedding of Harry and Meghan. The couple arrived at the ceremony clasping each other’s hands.

Making Appearances

Then, in 2020, Phillips garnered attention after he appeared in a Chinese milk commercial for the company Bright Food. This was at around the time when Harry and Meghan announced their intention to retreat from royal duties, and as such the advert sparked some discussion about what non-working royals could do to generate some cash.

Sudden News

A month later, however, an unexpected bombshell came. It was suddenly announced on February 11, 2020, that Phillips and Kelly – married for 12 years – would be divorcing. Not only that, but they had actually parted ways back in 2019. And, reportedly, the pair had already told the Queen and other royals what was going on.

Joint Agreement

An official statement on the news explained, “After informing HM The Queen and members of both families last year, Peter and Autumn jointly agreed to separate. They had reached the conclusion that this was the best course of action for their two children and ongoing friendship. The decision to divorce and share custody came about after many months of discussions, and, although sad, is an amicable one.”

Dedicated To Co-Parenting

The message also made clear that “the continued well-being and upbringing of [Phillips and Kelly’s] wonderful daughters” was important to the couple. It continued, “Both families were naturally sad at the announcement, but [they are] fully supportive of Peter and Autumn in the joint decision to co-parent their children.”

Inside Scoop

The announcement concluded, “Both Peter and Autumn have remained in Gloucestershire to bring up their two children, where they have been settled for a number of years. Peter and Autumn have requested privacy and compassion for their children while the family continues to adapt to these changes.” In the aftermath of that bombshell, however, members of the media attempted to get the inside scoop.


British tabloid The Sun spoke to several people apparently in the know, with one allegedly telling them, “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.”

Beneath The Surface

The supposed insider went on, “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. She is a favorite of the Queen, and I’m sure Her Majesty will be very upset by this as well. It’s the last thing she needs after all her recent troubles, and you get the feeling that the royal family is falling apart a little bit.”

Influenced By The Exit

Another friend of the couple hinted that Harry and Meghan’s exit from royal life may have had an impact. They said, “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.”

Drifting Apart

Fortunately, infidelity hadn’t seemingly caused the separation. An alleged friend told the The Sun, “Certainly none of us think either Peter or Autumn are involved with anyone else. It just seems they have grown apart, but it’s come as a bolt out of the blue for Peter, and he’s very upset.”

What’s Next?

And finally, a “senior royal source” told the paper, “The Queen must wonder what she has done to deserve this. Peter Phillips has always been a favorite of hers and Prince Philip, and she will be crestfallen by this – especially on top of all the other bad news. It makes you wonder what’s going to happen next.”

Remaining In England

It was said, though, that the couple were determined to remain friends. One person told The Daily Telegraph, “Autumn has no plans to go back to Canada. She is very happy in Gloucestershire and wants their daughters Savannah and Isla to be as close to Peter and his family as possible. They are still living together and intend to remain living nearby.”

Scrounging For Coin

Another individual expressed concern over the family’s finances, saying to the newspaper, “They don’t receive any public money so have had to go out and earn a living like anyone else. They have faced some financial pressures. If Peter had a lot of money, he wouldn’t have done the milk gig. He needed a good payday – especially now divorce is on the cards.”

The Queen’s Words

On February 12 journalist Richard Kay also claimed that the Queen had given Kelly some advice before she and her husband announced that they were divorcing. According to Kay, Phillips and Kelly had gone to Balmoral to inform the Queen that they were separating; while at the residence, however, the monarch reportedly asked the Canadian “not to make a hasty decision.”

Absent For Christmas

And apparently there may have been clues that the couple’s marriage was in danger. The last time that the pair were photographed at a royal shindig together, it transpires, was at the Braemar Highland Gathering, which occurred in September 2019. Notably, neither Phillips nor Kelly were around for the royal Christmas celebrations.

Conscious Uncoupling

So, what happens next? Well, another insider told Vanity Fair that Phillips and Kelly had been through a “conscious uncoupling.” Apparently, they wouldn’t “get a quickie divorce,” and they were even still living together at their family home. The rest of the royals, the source claimed, were “sad but supportive of the situation.”

Stay Calm And Carry On

Once the divorce goes through, then, life will naturally be very different for the members of the Phillips family. Thankfully, though, their status as non-working royals somewhat protects them from the media gaze – meaning the clan can hopefully iron out the details and carry on the best way they can without too much scrutiny.