Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly during a photo shoot to announce their engagement. Photo: GETTY
Once upon a time, Canadian native Autumn Kelly met Peter Phillips at the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix. Six weeks later, she discovered he was Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson. This begins one of the greatest and most successful love stories of the British Royal Family. It’s no secret that the British Royals have had their share of messy relationships so what sets these two apart? Many believe that it’s not only their love but also their lives away from the public eye.
Peter’s mother, Princess Anne, the later Princess Royal, ensured her family’s privacy by refusing offers from the Queen to bestow titles upon her children, thus them not being born into peerage. Though Peter and his sister Zara Tindall (née Phillips) do not have official titles, they are anything but left out of their family. A lack of title could be why Autumn Kelly got the shock of her life when she saw Peter’s face as she was watching a television program about Prince William’s 21st birthday. “I had no idea who Peter was. I’d never heard of Peter or Zara Phillips,” Autumn told Hello! Magazine in 2008.The decision was obvious to move to the United Kingdom from Canada and she quickly found work as a personal assistant to Sir Michael Parkinson. Together, Autumn and Peter lived and worked quietly to avoid the limelight. Though they lived the quiet life, the Queen still took notice of Autumn in a very positive way: she invited Miss Kelly to the Royal Family’s nine day cruise around the Western Isles in the summer of 2006 and to the Queen’s 80th birthday celebration at the Ritz.
After an engagement announcement in 2007 and consent given by Queen Elizabeth II, Miss Kelly converted from Roman Catholicism to Anglicanism, which allowed Peter to keep his then 10th place in the line of succession. Although the couple posed for Hello! Magazine for a reported £500,000, little else was known about their upcoming nuptials. In May of 2008, Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly were married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The now Mrs. Phillips walked down the aisle in Sissy Holford with six bridesmaids in tow, including Peter’s sister, Zara. As royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliam told BBC News, this change from tradition was for the better. “Royals aren’t marrying other royals and aren’t marrying into the upper classes,” he said. “They’re marrying into the middle class and they’re marrying for love.” After the wedding, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips traveled to South Africa for a relaxing honeymoon.
After living in Hong Kong, Peter and Autumn moved back to London just in time for the Queen to see the birth of her first great-grandchild. Savannah Anne Kathleen Phillips was born on 29 December 2010 in Gloucester, England. In October of 2011, the couple announced they were pregnant with their second child and Isla Elizabeth Phillips was born on 29 March 2012.
The couple will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary on May 17th, 2013. So what is the secret to their success? Besides the obvious love they have for each other each other, these royals and their children have been largely unbothered by the public. “Autumn and I have not had to endure the pressure William and Kate put up with,” said Peter to Hello! Magazine. “We have been left alone and touch wood, I hope it stays that way.” After five years and two beautiful children, we hope so, too.