Princess Anne and Family

Getting to Know Autumn Phillips (née Kelly)

I thought I’d take some time to get to know this elusive Royal a little better. You may be wondering why I am so very curious about Autumn, and admittedly some of my interest in Mrs. Phillips stems from the fact that Autumn and I share both a birthplace – Montréal, Canada- as well as both having had a baby in March 2012. But in researching her, I found there to be many more interesting facts about Autumn that led me to believe that others would be interested in her as well!

Born a Canadian, Autumn’s childhood was pretty similar to mine- we grew up within a few minutes of each other on Montréal’s english speaking West Island in a small suburb called Pointe-Claire. She went on to attend McGill University and graduated with a Bachelor in Arts before exploring a few career options before settling in as a Management Consultant.

As with all good stories, she met her “Prince”, Peter Phillips, the eldest son of Princess Anne, while he was working at the Montréal Grand Prix car race and with her not knowing he was The Queen’s grandson. She went on to move to London and worked a couple of jobs before marrying Peter in 2008. Right before her wedding, the Telegraph had a great piece about the then Ms. Kelly with some additional details as to her background. I noticed that they couldn’t help but mention that her mother was a hairdresser, twin brother a bricklayer and she had an Uncle who used to manage strip clubs – all being regaled in an effort to show the modernization and “easy going” nature that the Royal Family was adopting.

By marrying Peter, who has no formal title at the request of his mother, Princess Anne, she simply became Mrs. Phillips, but she gave up her Catholic faith to become an Anglican in order to allow Peter his status in line for the throne. Her two daughters, Savannah (born in 2010) and Isla (born in 2012) also have no formal title but are 12th and 13th in line for the throne themselves. Of interesting note is that because of Autumn’s Canadian citizenship, both girls have dual citizenship of the UK and Canada- making them the closest members of the Royal family to Canada, a Commonwealth realm.

Another interesting note about Autumn is her “ranking” in the Orders of Precedence in the United Kingdom. By virtue of her marriage, she is preceded in rank by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge – yet she also ranks above Princess Beatrice of York, who is fifth in line to the throne.

Autumn and Peter also did something unique prior to their wedding, which was accepting £500,000 to appear in a Hello! magazine photoshoot, something very much frowned upon in Royal circles. They also were somewhat unique for the Royal Family in that they lived for a couple of years in Hong Kong while Peter worked for Royal Bank of Scotland although they are now living in London again.

I think what I find most fascinating is how closely Autumn is tied into the Royal family, and yet how very Private and low-key a lifestyle she and Peter have been able to maintain (and create) for their family. Autumn and Peter both live a low profile life in London, which is something that has been bred into Peter since a child as Princess Anne tried to shed both Peter and his sister, Zara, from the limelight to ensure them a semblance of a normal life. This is likely easier for Autumn and Peter and their daughters than for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for example given their obvious role differences, but in my opinion a remarkable one given the era of social media, paparazzi and constant interest in the Royal Family.

I hope you’ll agree with me that Autumn is one of the lesser-known – but interesting – members of the Royal Family and have enjoyed getting to know her a little better with us today!

Pic: Autumn and Peter Phillips on their wedding day.

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