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Who is Peter Phillips?

On his birthday, Royal Central takes a look at Her Majesty’s eldest grandchild, Peter Philips.

Peter Mark Andrew Phillips was born on 15 November 1977 at 10:46 am at St Mary’s Hospital in London as the only son of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. He weighed 7lb 9oz and was the first legitimate royal baby to be born a commoner in 500 years. The reason being that his parents declined titles when they were married in 1973.

Peter, Her Majesty and Prince Philip’s oldest grandchild, was fifth-in-line to the throne at the time of his birth and until his cousin, Prince William was born in 1982. Currently, he is 13th-in-line to the throne.

His birth was greeted with a 41-gun salute at the Tower of London and an official announcement placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace. When the media asked Mark about Peter’s birth as he was leaving the hospital, he said he was “relieved it’s all over and very pleased.” He was asked what his son was like to which he replied, “About the same as any other baby I should think.”

Her Majesty was one of the first visitors to visit Peter and Anne in the hospital looking thrilled to meet her first grandchild.

Peter had fond memories of his childhood with Her Majesty and told Good Morning Britain, “We had great fun growing up on our holidays, going to stay with her at Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor, and we were incredibly lucky to be able to share a lot of our childhood time with her.”

He attended school at Port Regis Prep School before moving on to  Gordonstoun School in Scotland, where he was head boy. Peter selected the University of Exeter for his university education and graduated in 2000 with a degree in sports science.

Peter has been known to be very close with his grandmother, and in an article he wrote for The Telegraph about the Patron’s Lunch in June of this year, he said, “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 honour.”

Peter with his mother, Princess Anne in 2012. Photo: lhourahane (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Peter with his mother, Princess Anne in 2012. Photo: lhourahane (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

After his graduation from Exeter, Peter began working for Jaguar Racing as corporate hospitality manager and would later move on to Williams Grand Prix Engineering as the sponsorship accounts manager until September 2005. It was during his tenure with Williams Grand Prix Engineering that Peter met his future wife, Canadian Autumn Kelly in 2003 while in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. He then became a manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland, which would see him working in Hong Kong for a period of time.

Peter’s engagement to Autumn was announced on 28 July 2007 with Buckingham Palace saying, “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.” Her Majesty gave her consent to the marriage in a meeting with her Privy Council on 9 April 2008. The couple married on 17 May 2008 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Peter did not initially tell Autumn who he was, and she found out watching television about Prince William’s 21st birthday with her mother in Quebec. He would later say he was smitten with Autumn from the moment he met her.

Autumn converted from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England before her marriage. Had she not done this, Peter would have lost in place in the line of succession as written in the Act of Settlement 1701. At the time, if a royal were to marry a Catholic, they would be barred from the line of succession.

Peter and Autumn were interviewed before their wedding by Hello! magazine and were reportedly paid £500,000. Hello! published 59 pages of photographs of their wedding, which resulted in some MPs condemning the action. Her Majesty was not believed to have been consulted by her grandson and grandaughter-in-law.

On 29 December 2010, the couple’s first child, Savannah was born at  Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. She was followed by a younger sister, Isla on 29 March 2012.

He concluded his work with the Royal Bank of Scotland in March 2012 and began working at SEL UK as the managing director. Peter was part of the organisation of the Patron’s Lunch in June 2016 for Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.

He has a younger sister, Zara and two younger half-sisters, Felicity Tonkin and Stephanie Phillips through his father, Mark.

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