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Princess Anne and Family

Peter Phillips, from first of his generation to a background “royal”


Stephen Lock/ i-Images

He was the first of his generation of the Royal Family and the first grandchild for The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Over the years, Peter Phillips has transitioned from once being fifth in line to the throne to now being a businessman and 18th in the line of succession of the throne. On the occasion of his 44th birthday, Royal Central is taking a look at how Peter has stayed more in the “background” of the Royal Family throughout his life.

Peter Mark Andrew Phillips was born at 10:46 a.m. on 15 November 1977 in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London. Peter was the first child of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, who married five years prior in 1973. Peter was christened on 22 December 1977 by the Archbishop of Canterbury Donald Coggan in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. Among Peter’s godparents are the Prince of Wales and Geoffrey Tiarks.

At the time of his birth, Peter was fifth in line to the throne and remained so until his cousin, Prince William, was born in 1982. Unlike his cousin and other grandchildren of The Queen, Peter does not have a royal title. Only grandchildren of a monarch in the male line can receive a title.

His parents refused offers of new titles from The Queen at the time of their wedding, which would have led to Peter (and his younger sister) being born with a title. This makes Phillip the first legitimate grandchild of a monarch in more than 500 years to be born without a title or courtesy title. His younger sister Zara (b. 1981) also does not have a title.

Peter went to Port Regis Prep School in Shaftesbury, Dorset, before following other members of the family in attending Gordonstoun School in Moray, Scotland. While at Gordonstoun, Peter was chosen to be head boy. During his gap year, he travelled to Sydney, Australia, and worked for Sports Entertainment Limited (SEL). He then went on to attend the University of Exeter, where he graduated with a degree in sports science.

After graduating from university in 2000, Peter worked for Jaguar Racing as a corporate hospitality manager before moving on to Williams Racing Team, where he became a sponsorship accounts manager. He would leave Williams in 2005 to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh. In March 2012, Peter left that job to become managing director at SEL UK.

While Peter has continued to work in business, in the year leading up to the June of 2016, he was responsible for organising the “Patron’s Lunch” in celebration of The Queen’s 90th birthday. The event included a parade down The Mall and a hamper picnic for 10,000 guests.

In 2003, Peter met Autumn Kelly, a Canadian management consultant at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. The couple became engaged on 28 July 2007 and married on 17 May 2008 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. After Peter changed positions within the Royal Bank of Scotland, the couple moved to Hong Kong, and Peter became head of the bank’s sponsorship activities in the region.

In December 2019, the couple welcomed their first child and The Queen’s first great-grandchild, Savannah Anne Kathleen, who is 19th in line to the throne. Two years later, in March 2012, the couple welcomed their second daughter, Isla Elizabeth, who is 20th in line to the throne.

In February 2020, Phillips and Autumn announced they had separated a year prior and were planning on getting a divorce. The divorce was settled on 14 June 2021.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.