Princess Anne and Family

Who is Autumn Phillips?

Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

Wondering who Autumn Phillips is? Let’s learn more about the Canadian-born wife of Peter Phillips, son of Anne, Princess Royal.

Autumn Patricia Kelly was born on 3 May 1978 in Montreal, Quebec. She has a twin brother named Christopher and an older brother named Kevin. Her parents, Kathleen “Kitty” and Brian, divorced when Autumn was eight and went on to remarry. Autumn has two step-siblings from her father’s second marriage.

Autumn grew up in Pointe-Claire, an English speaking suburb of Montreal, and attended school there. She studied at McGill University and graduated in 2002 with a degree in East Asian Studies. While a student, she held jobs as a bartender, model, and actress (she had a non-speaking role in a 1996 movie called Rainbow). Upon graduation, she became a management consultant.

Autumn met her future husband, Peter Phillips, at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in 2003, but didn’t know that he was royalty. She only learned his identity after watching television footage of the Royal Family for Prince William’s 21st birthday. Peter later told The Telegraph, “There was no cause to mention it, no reason at all to tell her.”

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The pair was smitten with each other, and Autumn made plans to move to London. They lived in an apartment in Kensington and had a cottage at Gatcombe Park. After the move, she worked several different jobs, including at a computer firm and as a personal assistant to the broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson.

Their engagement was announced by Buckingham Palace on 28 July 2007. Prior to their marriage, Autumn converted from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England so as not to disrupt Peter’s place in the line of succession.

The couple married in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on 17 May 2008. Autumn’s wedding dress was designed by Sassi Holford, and one of her bridesmaids was her sister-in-law Zara.

Unusually, and controversially, they struck a deal with Hello!to photograph the wedding in a 20-page spread for a reported £500,000. The move was derided by the international press for the unfettered access to the Queen and other senior royals.

The wedding was also notable, as it was the first time the Duchess of Cambridge (then Kate Middleton) was present at a Royal Family event.

Following their wedding, the couple lived in Hong Kong for a period, but they moved back to London before the birth of their first child, a daughter named Savannah, who was born in 2010. Their second child, Isla, was born in 2012.

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The couple have no royal titles and do not carry out engagements on behalf of the Queen. They attend family events. Earlier this year, Peter Mansbridge of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation held an impromptu interview with Autumn as she and Peter walked by the CBC anchor during a live segment.

Autumn confessed that The Queen “knows more about Canada than I ever will.”

She also opened up about how the Royal Family is just another normal family.

“They’re just a family, they’re happy, they have great relationships with each other – they’re very close.”

Andrew Parsons / i-images

Reports began circulating on 10 February 2020 that Peter and Autumn had separated after 12 years of marriage. Buckingham Palace declined to comment that evening, but the couple confirmed their separation the next morning saying it was best for their daughters.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.