Peter Phillips, the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, married his Canadian bride Autumn Kelly on 17 May 2008 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The couple met in Montreal at the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix, but Peter did not reveal his true identity at the time. Autumn has told interviewers that she only found out who Peter was when she caught a news story about the Royal Family on television about six weeks after their meeting.
Before she met Peter, Autumn had accepted a job in England working for a computer firm. She later took up a job as the personal assistant of Sir Michael Parkinson.
The couple dated for several years, and Autumn even attend royal events including the dinner party for Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday in 2006.
Their engagement was announced on 28 July 2007 by Buckingham Palace. At the time, the couple were living in a cottage at Gatcombe Park, the Gloucestershire home of his mother, Princess Anne.
Autumn converted to Anglicanism before the wedding as she was Roman Catholic. The Act of Succession at the time would have meant that Peter would lose his place in the line of succession – at the time, he was tenth in line, though the birth of James, Viscount Severn in December 2007 pushed him down a spot.
The couple caused mild controversy for setting up a deal with Hello! magazine that granted the tabloid exclusive photos and interviews for a reported £500,000.
There were 300 guests at the wedding, including the Royal Family and Autumn’s family. Prince William could not attend, but his girlfriend Kate Middleton attended along with Prince Harry and his then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy.
Autumn’s wedding dress was designed by the British designer Sassi Holford, and she wore her mother-in-law’s Festoon tiara.
Autumn’s dress was Italian duchesse satin and Chantilly lace with a three-tiered sash at the waist. She wore a beaded bolero made from ivory Chantilly lace to cover her shoulders in the church.
Holford also spoke to Hello! about the experience, saying that “doing such a gown does kind of encompass all the emotions the bride feels on her day – I was excited, then terribly nervous, then full of joy.”
Autumn adhered to the bridal tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Her old and borrowed item was the Festoon tiara that Princess Anne lent her.
“Something blue was stitched into the dress, which of course was new, like the perfect necklace and matching earrings Peter gave me.”
Autumn told Hello! about her nerves on the day, saying that, “I was frightened of walking down the aisle.
“But when I got to the top of the stairs and saw how many of our friends and family had turned out to support us, I stopped being scared and actually enjoyed it.”
Autumn spent the night before her wedding at Windsor Castle while Peter spent the night with his uncle Edward.
Zara Phillips, Jacqueline Aubie (friend of Autumn’s) and Susannah Toynbee (friend of Autumn’s) were bridesmaids, while Stephanie Phillips (Peter’s half-sister) and Jessica Kelly (Autumn’s half-sister) were flower girls.
During the ceremony, Princess Eugenie gave a reading of Shakespeare’s 116th sonnet:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
Afterwards, the newlyweds had their reception at Frogmore House nearby.
“The whole thing was just fantastic from beginning to end,” Peter told Hello!
“I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. It’s just one big happy memory.”
The couple did not receive any titles upon their marriage, and as they were not full-time working members of the Royal Family, they continued with their jobs. They lived in Hong Kong for a period for work, but moved back to England ahead of the birth of their first child.
Savannah Anne Kathleen was born on 29 December 2010, the first great-grandchild of the Queen, and the first Canadian in the line of succession. A younger sister, Isla Elizabeth, was born on 29 March 2012 during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.
While the couple do not carry out royal duties, they are present at family events including Trooping the Colour and Christmas at Sandringham. Peter was in charge of the Patron’s Lunch event that took place during the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations in June of 2016.